Rivers re-run: Court postpones arraignment of 23 INEC staff

The planned arraignment on Tuesday of 23 staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) charged with bribery and corruption has been put off.

The INEC officials are to be arraigned in a seven-count charge of bribery and corruption.

They were accused of receiving N360m bribe from Rivers State Governor, Nyseom Wike, to rig the December 10, 2016 rerun legislative elections in the state.

The arraignment has been postponed to April 7 following the objection raised by the INEC officials against their trial in Abuja.

The INEC officials standing trial are Shittu Mohammed Lamido (Shettima), Henry Owokure, Peter Ewetade, Mrs. Mary Jummai Tunkoyo Pennap, Gwatana Jibril, Ivase Stephen and Abdullahi Ogabo.

Others are –Gayus Hassan, Hussaini T. Yahaya, James Ogwuche, Karimu F. Aminu, Adedokun Najeem Ayotunde, Balogun Funmilayo and Adams O.Kadiri.

Also named in the charges are Akinwande R. Adesoji, Lukeman Olabimpe, Tiamiyu R. Awolowo, Akinwoye Amodu, Nwoha Yusuf, Patrick Anuke, Iro Abali, Nwosu G. Oluchi and Arukwe Chinelo.

The officials, who have all been on bail granted them by the police, were brought to the Federal high court, Abuja, at about 8.30a.m on Tuesday in vehicles provided by the police.

When the case was called, prosecution lawyer, Aminu Alilu, informed the court about the pending seven-count charge, which the state has filed against the defendants.

He sought the court’s permission to have the case read to the defendants.

But lawyers to the defendants led by Ahmed Raji (SAN), told the court that the INEC officials have filed applications challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court.

(547)

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