Former Minister and AC Chieftain Jailed

Second Republic Minister of Mines and Power Alhaji Mohamed Ibrahim Hassan, Baraden Gombe, was remanded in prison custody by the Chief Magistrate’s Court 1 in Gombe yesterday following his arraignment by the police on a charge of giving false information with intent to mislead the public.

According to the police First Information Report (FIR) which was read in court, on July 29th, 2009, the former minister wrote a petition to then Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro, where he accused Gombe State Governor Muhammadu Danjuma Goje and the state Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Ahmed Ibi, of killing 60 innocent citizens of the state through the activities of political thugs locally known as Yan kalare.The FIR said the former Minster knew or had reason to believe that the information in his petition was false and capable of misleading members of the public.

The offence for which he is accused of committing is punishable under section 140 of the penal code law.Hassan pleaded not guilty to the charge and said he had not committed any offence under any Nigerian law, saying he was ready to defend himself through counsels.

However, police prosecutor ASP Yahaya Ogibiti urged Chief Magistrate Joseph Garba Shinga not to grant bail to the accused person on the grounds that investigation was still going on.

He said if granted bail, Alhaji Mohamed Hassan could temper with the process of investigation and the available evidence.

The prosecutor also said the accused person was capable of prejudicing police investigations and witnesses and could escape justice, saying it took the police over three weeks before they could arrest him. He cited three decided cases to back his objection to the bail.

In his application for bail for Hassan under section 35 and 40 of the constitution and penal code law, Barrister Luka Haruna said the accused was a man of impeccable character, renowned and respected personality, who is living with his family in Gombe and should therefore should be granted bail.

He said to a person of Hassan’s repute and personality in the society, the issue of escaping justice or jumping bail or tempering with police investigation and witnesses did not arise. The defence lawyer also debunked the cases cited by the prosecution and argued that they were all irrelevant to the case before the court.

He further submitted that the offence committed was contrary to section 140 of the penal code, which he said it was a simple offence that could only attract one year imprisonment with an option of fine of N20, if the accused is found guilty. This indicated that the offence was bailable, he said.

The Chief Magistrate then adjourned the case to November 6, 2009 for ruling on the bail application and remanded the former minister to prison custody.

Alhaji Mohamed Ibrahim Hassan has been in conflict with Governor Danjuma Goje for control of the state PDP for many years. The current case stems from a paid advertorial placed in some national newspapers some weeks ago, which alleged that more than 60 politically-motivated murders were committed in the state by the Yan Kalare since Goje became governor in 2003.

In the advertorial, said by the police to be sponsored by Hassan, a list of names of allegedly murdered men and women was provided, which information was attributed to official police sources.

The police later denied that they provided such information and then charged Alhaji Mohamed Ibrahim Hassan to court for giving false information to the public.