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CONFUSION OVER DOMA, OGD

By NBF News
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It was, however, a hellish experience for Akwe-Doma, yesterday, as he was taken to Lafia and back to Abuja on a four-hour trip by EFCC operatives. Doma, who was facing trial on alleged misappropriation of N18billion, was expected to appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, but the arraignment could not hold as a result of the absence of the presiding judge.

Daily Sun could not ascertain what stalled the trial of Doma either in Abuja or Lafia as at the time of filing this report.

Consequently, he was taken back to Abuja amidst tight security and later kept at the EFCC detention facility in the city.

EFCC spokesman, Femi Babafemi, confirmed the commission's inability to arraign Doma yesterday in Abuja and Lafia. He, however, declined further comments.

Also, there was no respite in sight for Daniel, as the EFCC failed to arraign him yesterday.

Daniel was alleged to have misappropriated N58 billion in his eight-year tenure in Ogun State.

It was confusion galore at the premises of Federal High Court, Abeokuta, where the trial was expected to take place, as heavy presence of police and personnel of the State Security Service (SSS), was noticed.

Hundreds of supporters of the former governor, who had loitered around the court premises for several hours, were disappointed particularly when news filtered in that the immediate past governor of Oyo State, Otunba Adebayo Alao-Akala, who was arrested at the same time with Daniel had been arraigned in Ibadan by the EFCC.

Speaking on the development, Daniel's lawyer, Yemi Oke, decried continued incarceration of the former governor, alleging that he was being detained under inhuman conditions.

In a statement made available to journalists yesterday, Oke alleged that Daniel was being subjected to gruesome interrogations, in addition to ignoring the court processes seeking to enforce the fundamental human rights of the former governor.

According to Daniel's counsel, the former governor ought to have been admitted to administrative bail since the anti-graft agency was not ready to file any charge against him.

He added that his continued detention without formal charges amounted to infringement on his fundamental human rights.

His said: 'Under normal circumstances, Otunba Daniel should have been arraigned in court since he has spent more than the required period specified by law in detention. But at the time of issuing this statement, he has not been arraigned in court and no charge has been preferred against him. Yet he is being detained and his fundamental human rights curtailed for no just cause. Only his wife is allowed access to him.

'This (yesterday) morning, the EFCC has been served with court processes by Otunba Gbenga Daniel's lawyers led by Professor Taiwo Osipitan (SAN) and Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) seeking to enforce his fundamental human rights. This has been ignored by the agency.

'This disposition of the EFCC has left us with no alternative than to conclude that there are other motives for the continued detention of Otunba Daniel other than the investigation of an alleged crime. Otherwise, he should have been admitted to administrative bail or formally charged to court.

'Due to the worsening condition under which he is being held, and the curtailment of his fundamental rights, the former governor has declined food and medication, which has raised serious concern about his health.'

Daniel's impending prosecution according to Oke was more than meets the eye, saying one of his interrogators had alluded to the fact that he should have begged an unnamed former president to alleviate his case.

In a bid to nail him, EFCC yesterday interrogated no fewer than seven of the 20 local government council chairmen, who served under Daniel.

One of the affected former council chairmen confided in Daily Sun that the anti-graft agency asked them questions on government allocations to their respective council areas during interrogation at the Lagos office of the agency.

However, he said they were allowed to go after making necessary statements with instruction to always honour their invitations once they were invited.

Daily Sun authoritatively learnt yesterday that Daniel has been moved from Abuja to Lagos for onward movement to Abeokuta, where his trial would commence today.

It was gathered that he arrived Lagos in an Arik flight 172, yesterday evening, accompanied by his wife, Olufunke.

The couple was said to have been sighted at the business class compartment of the flight with two EFCC operatives sitting directly behind the compartment, keeping watch on the ex-governor.

Daniel, who was the last passenger to board the aircraft at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, was moody all through the flight period as he pleasantries from other passengers on board were acknowledged in a cold manner.

EFCC spokesman, Babafemi also confirmed that Daniel will be in court today.

Meanwhile, former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje, is still under EFCC custody, where he is being grilled by anti-fraud detectives on his alleged misappropriation of N52billion public funds during his eight-year tenure in office.

However, as at press time, speculations were rife in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, that Daniel would be arraigned on today.

Among those at the court yesterday were the Vice Chairman, South West of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, former secretary to the state government in the Akala administration, Chief Layiwola Olakojo, former caretaker chairman of Oluyole Local Government, Alhaji Kehinde Olaosebikan, former state commissioner for commerce during Akala's reign, Mr Kola Balogun and other party chieftains.

Shortly after the court session, it was funfair as party supporters and loyalists of the former governor drummed and sang round the court premises.