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GANDUJE ARRAIGNMENT: Kano court faces impasse over service of criminal charge

GANDUJE ARRAIGNMENT: Kano court faces impasse over service of criminal charge 

The Kano State High Court presided over by Justice Usman Na’abba was on Monday undecided on the impasse of service of criminal charge sheet on Abdullahi Umar Ganduje.

Ganduje, a former Kano State governor, alongside others, was being accused corruption-related offences which he was alleged to have committed during his eight-year tenure at the helm of affairs in the state.

The government of Abba Kabir Yusuf, the incumbent governor of the state, said he must be brought to book.

His wife, Hafsat Umar Ganduje and son Umar Abdullahi Umar, are among the defendants in the case.

READ ALSO: FINANCIAL CRIMES: Why Ganduje can’t be arraigned as scheduled

Ganduje, now national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), could not be arraigned on Wednesday, the 18th of April, 2024, due to lack of service of the charge sheet on him. Repots said he was out of the country at the time.

The state government made an application before the court to serve Ganduje through substituted means, but the court could not rule on the application fearing a clash with a constitutional provision which a lawyer to the 6th defendant in the case raised.

The 6th defendant was the only one who has so far been represented in the case by a lawyer, Nureini Jimoh, SAN.

When the court reconvened on Monday, the 29th of April, 2024, the presiding judge directed all parties to address the court on the propriety of serving a charge sheet through substituted means in a criminal trial.

Lead counsel for the prosecution, Adeola Adedife, SAN argued that the criminal charge shhet can be effected by substituted means as provided by section 378(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) of Kano State 2019.

He elaborated that the provision of section 378(5) allows an exparte application to be brought before the court to seek for leave to allow service on the defendant through his lawyer, servants, adult in his house or in any manner the court may deem fit.

He said this provision was made to cure the mischief in the previous laws that do not give room for service through substituted means in criminal trials.

READ ALSO: Ganduje arraignment, Kano government and presidency involvement

In his response, counsel to the 6th defendant, Nureini Jimoh, argued that the provision of section 378, sub 5 of ACJL Kano State, 2019 was unconstitutional because service in criminal summon falls under the purview of the National Assembly, referring to section 43 of constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

He submitted that where a State House of Assembly makes law in that regard, it was ultra vires.

He therefore urged the court to reject any application exparte, orally or otherwise behind the defendants, noting that it is contrary to the provision of constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Justice Na’abba thereafter fixed the 16th May, 2024 to deliver ruling on whether it is appropriate to serve Ganduje, his wife, son and other defendants in the criminal case with court processes through substituted means.

Other defendants in the case include; Abubakar Bawuro, Jibrilla Muhammad, Lamash Safari Textiles Ltd, and Lesage General Enterprises.

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