The Governor of Zamfara state Mohammed Bello Matawalle has been accused of complicity in the continuous remand of the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate in the 2023 governorship election, Aliyu Ikira Bilbis who has spent over two weeks in remand in zamfara state for an alleged criminal conspiracy and mischief.
Among the charges against the former minister is the alleged destructions of Bill boards by PDP supporters in the state
The former minister of Communication during the late President Umar Ya’radua, was arrested and charged to Upper Shariah Court 11, Gusau for an alleged criminal conspiracy and mischief by the State Government on September 30th and has remained in prison remand following the stringent conditions attached to his bail by the presiding judge, Jubril Ibrahim Gusau.
Upon the application for bail by his Counsel, Barrister JC John of the Umaru Shinkafi Chambers, the Court granted the bail but on a very stringent conditions.
The bail Conditions granted by the Justice is a surety with landed property in Gusau within the jusrisdiction of the Court,who owns a Home and with Certificate of Occupancy ( C of O) of the property with a value of not less than 20million naira.
The former minister is expected to produce a permanent secretary, who is serving in Governor Bello Matawalle’s government in Zamfara state. He will also among other things sign a bond to produce the accused person.
But the counsel to the former minister, Barrister J. C John over the weekend raised alarm following the alleged moves by the judge and the despondent to scuttle the process.
According to him ” The second condition is such that is obtainable. We had an experience here , the Court granted a bail to somebody and said that the surety should be a District Head ”
” The case was also political case like this. The District Head of the place came forward to take the bail and was deposed. So when he said a permanent secretary serving in the Government of Zamfara state , we knew they were not ready to grant him bail”.
Speaking further, the counsel to the respondent said that ” we filed an application to the Court because there is a provision in the Sharia criminal procedures that says you can apply for variations of condition of bail. We filed the application for variations on the December 1st , the judge then became incommunicado. He was absent from the Court and his House, for one week. That is on the 8th of December so we could not find him to give instructions to fixed the hearing”
” Before he appeared, he said he was not going to appear because he was afraid of his life, that he was being threatened by PDP members that they will kill him. On Monday when he eventually came in unexpectedly, that was on December 1st and took the application summarily that was when one Mohammed Aminu, from the the ministry of justice said he was taking over the case from the prosecutor and raised objections to the variations that we should be able to produce a permanent secretary, that the condition is not stringent ”
” Ironically the first time we applied for the bail the prosecutor said that he has nothing to say that it is at the discretion of the Court . Despite that the judge went ahead to imposed stringent conditions, which to me is giving something to someone with right hand and at the same time taking it back with left hand” he lamented.
In fact, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) member in Zamfara state who doesn’t want his name mentioned for fear of being arrested collaborated the allegations by the counsel to to the respondent, according to him” Ambassador Bala Mairga, a people Democratic party, chieftain is presently in detention. The judge who granted him bail was transferred to bandit infested area in Zamfara, that judge that too over revoked his bail”
Though the former minister has through his lawyer file another application in the High Court but but the former minister hope of regaining his freedom might not come soon as results of the abuse of court process.
, Barrister John state this much in an interview on Sunday ” in the case of Ikira, there is a practice direction in the Sharia court of Appeal in Zamfara state that says that all application between hearing and termination of the main case should be determined within seven days . We have filed our application, they denied us hearing until on the 8th December, that is seven days after, if you excluded the first seven days from the date of filling, even they have not decided on the hearing over the application on the 8th they adjourned till 12 December, so the application is already stare , even if they give rulings, it is unconstitutional ”
” What we have done now is to bypass the Sharia court file another application in the High Court asking the court to admit him on bail”
That application has been fixed for Friday this week.
Speaking on the charges his counsel described it as ” trump up charges and an opportunity to stop the PDP from campaign for the governorship election in the state.
Indeed Governor Matawalle had earlier signed an Executive Order 10 baning rallies, gathering of any form, and campaign in Zamfara state till further notice.