By Vivian Okejeme with agency
T he Court of Appeal in Dutse has acquitted former officials of the Jigawa State Government who served under the Sule Lamido administration.
The court discharged the officials because they were tried under an inappropriate law. It said the state government can resume their trial under the relevant law.
The discharged officials are Salisu Mahmuda, who is now the state chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); Salisu Indirawa who was the commissioner for local government affairs; Nasiru Roni who was the commissioner for finance, and Abba Dagoro, the former state secretary of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
Others are Shehu Chamo and Muktar Gwanga, who were also officials of ALGON during the administration of Mr Lamido.
The state government had charged the accused persons on three counts bordering on criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant and public servant disobeying the direction of law with intent to cause public injury.
The alleged offences are punishable under sections 96, 123 and 315 of the Criminal Procedure Laws of Jigawa State.
But the counsel to the appellants, AG Wakil, argued that the sections of the penal code under which they were arraigned are only applicable to public servants under the federal, state and local governments. He said the accused persons are not public servants.
While delivering the judgement, the lead judge, Umar Maigari, struck out the first information report used for the trial of the appellants.
He, therefore, discharged the first, second and third appellants.
However, the judge said the respondent is at liberty to continue with the prosecution in the relevant court and under relevant laws of the land.
“The decision of the trial court dated 20th, December 2018 in suit No CR/91/2017 is hereby set aside,” the judge ruled.
After the session, one of the respondent’s lawyers, Aliyu Hassan, said the respondent’s team would analyse the judgement and decide on the next step.