Court strikes out case against top official with forgery

Federal High Court Lagos

A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out a charged filed against a Director of Protocol in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Maikudi Haruna.

Haruna was accused, in the charge filed in the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Immigration Service, of engaging in forgery and international passport racketeering.

On his arraignment in 2019 before Justice Taiwo Taiwo, Haruna pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge bordering on “conspiracy,” “making false statement for the purpose of procuring Nigeria passport,” and engaging in “forgery.”

The prosecution was represented by Collins Obilor, who claimed that Haruna forged the official identity card of his ministry and signature of the Minister on a letter he issued to a friend, Abubakar Mustapha Bida, for whom he procured an official passport, after collecting N250,000 from him.

However, in a ruling on March 5, 2020, Justice Taiwo struck out the charge for want of diligent prosecution.

An copy of an enrolled order by Justice Taiwo, striking out the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2019 was sighted by The Nation on August 4, 2022.

The said order, signed by a Registrar of court, identified as Blessing Chibuzo-Ugwu, was sent to Abuja office of The Nation via a letter dated July 21, 2022 by Zaidu Abdullahi, who claimed to be a lawyer to Bida.

The order reads: “Upon this suit coming up before this court today the 5th day of March, 2020. And after hearing S. Tijani Esq. with Mariam Raheem (Miss) for the defendant.
“It is hereby ordered as follows: That this case is struck out due to lack of diligent court prosecution.
“Issued under the seal of the court and the hand of the presiding Judge this 5th day of March, 2020.”
Obilor declined to comment when contacted on whether the prosecution took any further steps after the Justice Taiwo’s ruling, striking out the charge.

-The Nation


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