The Supreme Court on Friday decided that Mohammed, son of Nigeria’s late Head of State, General Sani Abacha must face trial again at an Abuja High Court.
The Federal Government had dragged Abacha to court with 123 counts brought against him, all bordering on being in possession of funds looted from the coffers of the government. The apex court dismissed Abacha’s appeal and upheld the ruling of the lower court. The appeal was dismissed for lacking merit.
The theft for which the younger Abacha was accused was allegedly committed when his father ruled Nigeria as Head of State. He had challenged his trial, though unsuccessfully at the Court of Appeal. He later approached the Supreme Court.
His counsels had argued that having forfeited some of his family’s properties to the Federal Government, he should be exempted from prosecution, provisions from Decree 53 of 1998 were cited.
In the unanimous judgment led by Justice Kayode Ariwoola, the court ordered the son of the former Head of State to return to Abuja High Court and face trial for corruption. The lead judgment read in part, “the reasoning and conclusion of the lower court cannot be faulted in any way. It is only the trial court that is clothed with the jurisdiction to conduct a trial on the charges that will decide the same, one way or the other, after hearing evidence. The issues are therefore resolved against the appellant who should go and face the music”.