Niger govt docks 8 Islamic sect leaders

From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

Eight leaders of the Islamic sect, identified as Madinatu Muheenu Hamdallah, recently dislodged by the Niger state government in Lapai local government area of the state, have been charged in a Minna Chief Magistrate court II for unlawful preaching and illegal operation of Islamic school in the state.

The eight accused persons were docked on a 2-count charge under section 23 of the Islamic preaching law of Niger state for operating illegal Islamic school without licence from the relevant authority and engaging in preaching without licence from relevant authority punishable under the same section of the Islamic preaching laws of the state.

The accused persons, who pleaded not guilty to the offense, included Mohammed Abubakar, Musa Hamza, Yusuf Usman, Aliyu Mohammed, Abubakar Hamza, Umaru Mohammed, Alfa Mohammed and Aliyu Abubakar.

The sect leaders were said to have been arrested by the State Security Service (SSS), although the sect leaders were denied bail by the court as the state solicitor, Barrister Sulieman Buhari argued that investigation into how the accused persons got huge sums of money in their accounts was ongoing.

He argued that it was necessary to for the SSS to investigate the source of the funds in the accounts because of prevailing security situation in the country.

However, the defence counsel, Barrister Aliyu Ebo argued for the bail of the accused person, insisting that the offense for which they were charged was minor and bail able according to law.

The Chief Magistrate, Hajiya Maimuna Talatu Abubakar, while adjourning the case to July 30, ordered that the suspects be remanded in Minna prison and directed the SSS to complete investigation into the case in respect of their accounts in various banks before the next adjourned date.

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