November 3, 2015

Political thugs disrupt ex-Governor Goje’s trial

Political thugs disrupt ex-Governor Goje’s trial

File photo: Goje…pleads not guilty

Many injured, vehicles damaged as judge hurriedly adjourns case

By Soni Daniel, Northern Region Editor

GOMBE—The scheduled trial of former governor of Gombe State, Danjuma Goje, was disrupted yesterday morning, as thugs invaded the Federal High Court premises in the state capital, attacking some of the suspects and witnesses and forcing many to flee.

File photo: Goje...pleads not guilty

Ex-Gombe Gov, Danjuma Goje

Many vehicles belonging to the defence counsel and supporters of the former governor were also damaged.

The vehicle, in which the defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, was travelling to the court, was among those reportedly vandalised by the thugs.

The attackers unleashed anger on their victims as the star witness in the case, Shehu Mohammed Atiku, Clerk of Gombe State House of Assembly, was testifying against Goje in the dock.

Atiku  had barely told the court that the ex-governor forged the resolution of the House of Assembly which he used to collect N5 billion loan facility from Access Bank, when the thugs descended on the court.

Atiku told the court that the said resolution did not emanate from the House of Assembly as there was no record of such proceedings in the House where he served as clerk.

“My Lord, the said resolution did not emanate from the Gombe State House of Assembly and I was not a signatory to it.

“As the Admin Officer of the House, I chair management committee of the House, keep the record of House proceedings and maintain its records,” the witness said while being led by the prosecuting counsel, Wahab Shittu.

The thugs also launched attack on the  accused persons and others outside the court premises during which the second accused person, Aliyu El-Nafarty and one other person, were seriously wounded.

In the melee,  vehicles were vandalized, including that of the defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, SAN.

The attack forced the presiding judge, Justice B.O. Quadri, to adjourn to November 25, 2015.

Justice Quadir condemned the attack and directed both counsel to do a report on what happened which he promised to forward to the Chief Judge, Federal High Court for necessary action

Goje, alongside four other accused persons, are being prosecuted by the EFCC on charges of conspiracy, money laundering and embezzlement of funds belonging to the state government.