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Court orders FG to release Abacha’s international passport

By Emeka Mamah

KADUNA — A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Federal Government to release forthwith the international passport of Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abacha, son of the late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, which it seized from him in 1999.

The court gave the order while ruling on an application filed by Alhaji Abacha.

The plaintiff had approached the court asking for the varying of the condition of bail granted him on July 24, 2002, that led to the seizure of his travelling documents by the State Security Service, SSS, since then.

He told the court that he needed the international passport to enable him travel abroad for medical check-up.

In a motion on notice filed by his counsel, Mr. L. M. Amenga, and supported with a nine-paragraph affidavit, Alhaji
Abacha said he had been attending the National Hospital, Abuja for the treatment of an ailment in his backbone, adding that he needed to travel out “for a second opinion abroad.”

Ruling on the matter, Justice Ishaq Bello said he was satisfied with the reasons adduced by Alhaji Abacha for his travel documents to be released by the government, even as he rejected the argument of the Federal Government opposing the request.

Defence counsel, Alilu Kayode, had argued that Alhaji Abacha had several cases abroad, adding that he could use the opportunity of the trip tamper with such cases.

But Justice Bello held that the fact that the medical report from the National Hospital showed that Alhaji Abacha had a “severe low backache, which had shown a progression of degenerative charges” was enough reason for him to seek further treatment abroad since the back bone is “the pillar that sustains the posture of a man” and therefore “very delicate.”

On the court case being faced by Abacha overseas, Justice Bello said the matter was “already before an Appeal Court over there,” wondering: “What is therefore there for the applicant to influence in terms of investigation against him?”


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