Court jails Saraki’s ex-aide, immigration official over alleged forgery

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By Eric Ikhilae, Abuja

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered that a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-Senate President, Bukola Saraki – Mohammed Toyin Jimoh Sanusi – and one other be remanded in prison following their arraignment on charges of forgery and conspiracy.

Justice Okon Abang ordered that Sanusi and Miss Onyinye Janefrances Nwoye, an official of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIM) – with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Immigration, on Grande Level 10 – remain in prison until they are able to meet the conditions attached to the bail granted them.

Sanusi and Nwoye were arraigned on a four-count charge in which they were accused of forging documents to procure Nigeria’s official passport, meant for senior government officials for Sanusi, who was presented as Deputy Director at the State House Medical Centre Abuja.

They were alleged to have committed the offences with another senior Immigration official named: Sidikat Bidemi Babatunde, who is said to be at large.

In his statement filed in court, Sanusi said he worked as Personal Assistant to the former Senate President’s late father, Abubakar Olusola Saraki (between 2002 and 2007), Chairman of Ilorin West Local Government (between 2007 and 2010),
Chief of Staff to while the ex-Senate President was the Governor of Kwara State (2011-2015) and Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters to Saraki as Senate President (2015-2018).

Sanusi and Nwoye pleaded not guilty when the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2019 was read to them, following which the lead prosecuting lawyer, Collins Obilor urged the court to set a date for the commencement of trial.

Obilor also prayed the court to remand the defendants in prison pending the date set for trial.

Lawyers to the defendants, Lukman Fagbemi (for Sanusi) and Kelvin Mejulu (for Nwoye) applied orally for bail for their clients.

In a ruling, Justice Abang granted the defendants bail at N1million and one surety each in like sum.

The judge said the sureties, who must own landed property in Abuja, worth N1m, must depose to affidavit of means and their willingness to forfeit such an amount if any of the defendant jumps bail.

He adjourned until December 9, 2019 for the prosecution to open its case and ordered that the defendants be kept in prison until they are able to meet the bail conditions.

Part of the charge reads: “That you Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh (M), of House B 53, Taslee Palm City Estate, Wuse 2, Abuja, and you, Nwoye Janefrances Onyinye, (f), of Aco Estate, Road 2, Airport Road Abuja, and you Sidikat Bidemi Batunde, (f), of the Nigeria Immigration Service FCT Command, Abuja, on or about the 14th day of June, 2019, at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit an offence, to wit; knowingly making false statements for the purpose of procuring Official Nigeria Passport for one Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh, by introducing him to be a Deputy Director, State House Medical Centre, Abuja, and submitting forged documents in that regard to the Nigeria Immigration Service, knowing that he is not an eligible Government Official, you thereby committed the above stated offence punishable under Section 10(1)(h), of the Nigeria Immigration Act, 2015.

“That you Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh (m), of House B 53, Taslee Palm City Estate, Wuse 2, Abuja, and you, Nwoye Janefrabces Onyinye (f), of Aco Estate, Road 2, Airport Road Abuja, and you Sidikat Bidemi Batunde, (F), of the Nigeria Immigration Service, FCT Command, Abuja, on or about the 14th day of June, 2019, at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters Abuja, did commit an offence to wit; forgery, by fraudulently making official letter head paper of the State House Abuja, submitting a forged letter of promotion to the post of Deputy Director GL15 purporting same to have been issued by the State House Abuja, and submitting a forged official identification card with the passport photograph of one Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jlmoh, also purporting same to have been issued by the State House Abuja, for the purpose of procuring official Nigeria Passport for Mr. Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh, supposing him to be a Deputy Director at the State House Medical Centre Abuja you thereby committed the above stated offence punishable under Section 364, of the Penal Code Act, (Cap 89 Laws of Northern Nigeria 1963).

“That you Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh (M), of House B 53, Taslee Palm City Estate, Wuse 2, Abuja, and you, Nwoye Janefrabces Onyinye (f), of Aco Estate, Road 2, Airport Road Abuja, and you Sidikat Bidemi Batunde, (F), of the Nigeria Immigration Service FCT Command, Abuja, on or about the 14th day of June, 2019, at the Nigeria Immigration Service Headquarters Abuja, did commit an offence to wit; aiding the illegal procurement of Nigeria official passport by providing financial assistance and other illegal breeder documents for the purpose of using them to procure Nigeria official passport for one Sanusi Mohammed Toyin Jimoh (m), knowing that he is not an eligible government official, you thereby committed the above stated offence punishable under Section 10(1)(h), of the Nigeria Immigration Act, 2015.”

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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