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Blame the judge: Arraignment of Lamido’s son stalled

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Blame the judge: Arraignment of Lamido’s son stalled

by Stanley Azuakola

Today was supposed to be day one in the trial of Aminu Lamido. But it did not happen. The credit for that goes to Justice Shehu Yahaya, the trial judge assigned to the case, who failed to show up in court today.

Aminu Lamido is the son of the Jigawa state governor, Sule Lamido. On December 12, 2012, he was apprehended by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano while about to board a flight to Egypt.

His offence was the failure to declare the $50,000 in cash which he had on him to officials of the Nigeria Customs Service. That, according to the EFCC, is an offence punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

Consequently, Lamido faces a one-count charge of money laundering.

Predictably, a lot of commentators have attached political significance to the arrest. Aminu’s father, Gov. Sule Lamido, is seen as a potential rival to President Goodluck Jonathan in the race for the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party in 2015. The governor is believed to be favoured by former president Olusegun Obasanjo, and already his campaign posters have appeared in some states, with the Rivers governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, touted as a possible running mate.

At the High Court in Kano today, the accused was brought to court by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at about 8.45am. After waiting for about an hour, the deputy chief registrar of the court announced that the judge was unavailable and promised to communicate a new date for the arraignment to the parties. No reason was given for the judge’s absence.

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