A Federal High Court sitting in Katsina has ordered that Mahadi Shehu, a whistleblower, be kept in police custody pending when a written bail application will be heard on Friday.
The Presiding judge, Justice Hadiza Rabiu Shagari, gave the order on Monday when Mahdi was arraigned on a six-count charges bordering on cybercrime against Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari and members of his cabinet.
- How NDLEA uncovered cocaine inside Anambra monarch’s palace
- Kidnapped police officer rescued in 24 hours
After reading the charges to the defendant, to which he said he understood but decided to keep mute on the plea of guilty or not on the advice of his counsel, the prosecution counsel, Barrister Simon Lough, asked the court to remand the defendant in prison custody.
But the judge said based on the physical condition of the defendant, she could not remand him in prison but that he should remain in police custody.
The defense counsel, Barrister M.I. Abubakar, then indicated interest to file an oral application for bail but the judge refused.
Earlier, the defense counsel filed a motion on notice, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case brought before it.
He argued that the complainant, Inspector General of Police, had “flagrantly disobeyed” an Abuja Federal High Court order, ordering the release of Mahdi on bail.
Other grounds on which the defense party stood were that multiple charges could not be filed in different courts against the same accused based on the same facts, as well as fear of likelihood of bias by the Katsina Federal High court.
However the judge ruled that the court would go ahead with the proceedings and since the matter was for arraignment, the court will not accept any objections before the arraignment.
In a related development, a Katsina High Court sitting in Dutsinma had struck out an appeal for stay of proceedings filed by, Mahadi Shehu, who wanted the court to set aside an order of warrant of arrest issued against him by a Sharia Court in Katsina
The court had earlier in February, while sitting at Malumfashi, adjourned the appeal to commence on march 8 following request by the counsel to the respondents to adjourn the case following some typographical errors noticed in the responses he filed.
Shehu’s earlier refusal to appear before the court for the continuation of hearing in the Defamation suit filed by Secretary to Katsina State Government, SGS, Dr Mustapha Inuwa, against him for alleged Insults and Defamation of Character, had prompted the Sharia Court order.