Judiciary & Court
Ex-Niger Gov’s Trial: Defence counsels trade words in court
The cross-examination of the fourth prosecution witness, PW4, Isaac Gado in the ongoing money laundering trial of former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and two others, Tanko Beji and Umar Nasko before Justice Mikail Aliyu of the Niger State High Court, Minna, on Friday October 15, witnessed an interesting twist, as counsel to Aliyu vehemently objected to the line of questioning of the witness by counsel to Nasko.
The PW4 had testified that the withdrawn cash was to be taken to the third defendant, Umar Nasko. But Mamman Mike Osman, counsel to the third defendant while cross examining the witness on October 15, sought to know from the witness whether the first defendant was the ultimate recipient of the tranches of money delivered to the third defendant, to which the witness responded, “yes.”
Dissatisfied by the line of questioning by his brother defence counsel, counsel to the first defendant, Musa Sulaiman, objected; arguing that the questioning amounts to opinion evidence which is speculative.
But Osman expressed surprise at the objection. According to him, “the prosecution is not objecting, it is unusual for anyone but the prosecution to raise an objection to my mode of cross-examination.”
Osman stated that the purpose of cross-examination is to elicit relevant facts. “It must not necessarily be confined to the fact elicited by the witness. I never sought his opinion but asked whether the first defendant was the ultimate recipient of the tranches he delivered.”
The court however overruled the objection of counsel to the first defendant. According to the court, “the only person that can raise an objection is the prosecution, you have every opportunity to cross-examine the PW4 which you did.”
Justice Mikail adjourned the matter to November 3, 4 and 5, 2021 for ruling on the admissibility of some documents presented by PW5.