A former governor of Niger state, Mr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, and two others standing trial along with him at Niger State High Court for alleged corruption since 2017 have been declared not guilty.
The two others are former Chief of Staff, Government House during Aliyu’s administration, Mr Umar Nasko, and the state’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman, Mr Tanko Beji.
The trio were being tried for alleged diversion of N2 billion ecological fund.
The case had lingered for over three years and had witnessed three separate trial judges presiding over it at different times.
Last month, counsels to the plaintiffs - Niger State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) - announced their withdrawal from further prosecuting the case before the court.
However, the defence counsel insisted that the prosecution should equally declare it had similarly withdrawn from the case to determine its fate before the court.
At three different sittings of the court, the prosecution counsel did not appear before the court, neither did they send any representation to pursue the case.
The three lead defence counsel - Mr Ayodele O. Ayodeji, Mr Ibrahim Ishaku, and Mr Mike Mamman - had urged the court to discharge and acquit their clients because the prosecution had failed to appear before the court on three previous occasions.
At the court sitting on Monday, the trial judge, Mr Mukha’ila Abdullahi, said the court had diligently followed the arguments of the defence counsel and had arrived at the conclusion that the court could not act or serve as prosecutor in the case.