A businessman and Chairman of AA Oil, Aliyu Abubakar, has denied the charges bordering on criminal trespass into an Abuja property instituted against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Abubakar, who has been named as a suspect in an ongoing investigation into the multi-billion naira Malabu Oil and Gas deal involving an alleged fraudulent transfer of Federal Government’s Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245, did not show up in court for his arraignment on Wednesday. In a statement on Thursday, he denied media report that he shunned the court by staying away on Wednesday.
He said he was not aware of the charges which he said were only pasted at his residence on Tuesday.
The Attorney General of the Federation filed two counts of criminal trespass and mischief against the businessman on July 1, 2016.
The prosecution accused Abubakar of forcefully entering Plot 105, Cadastral Zone, Aso Drive, a property said to be in lawful possession of one Alhaji Lawal Abbah, sometimes in January 2015.
The accused was said to have forcefully ejected all occupants of the house including Abbah’s security men and members of his families, and went ahead to “cause” the house to be demolished.
Dissatisfied with Abubakar’s absence from court on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. David Kaswe, applied to the trial judge to issue an arrest warrant against the accused.
But the trial judge, Justice M. E Anenih rejected the application on the grounds that it would be “unfair” to take such an action against him, since the certificate of service showed that the charges, accompanied with other court processes, were only pasted to the accused person’s residence on Tuesday.
But Abubakar in his statement on Thursday, maintained his innocence, saying the office the AGF was only being used to file the charges in order to gag him.
He said, “My attention has been drawn to a trending story that I shunned the FCT high Court presided by Justice M.E. Anenih on Wednesday.
“It was absolute rubbish to make such a frivolous claim which was aimed at impugning on my hard-earned reputation as an ethical and reliable businessman.
“I, Aliyu Abubakar, was not aware of any processes not to talk of avoiding the court on the said day.
“The filing of two-count charge against me was a judicial ambush which the erudite judge, Justice Anenih refused to buy into.
“The Prosecutor admitted before her Lordship that some processes were pasted on my residence on Tuesday but on Wednesday he asked the court to issue a warrant of arrest against me.
“The judge was also forthright in rejecting the application for the warrant of arrest by declaring it unfair. What the prosecutor sought to do was to have his cake and eat it.
“Following the mischief being dished out to undiscerning media, it has become imperative to make it clear that the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (OAGF) was being used to gag, intimidate, punish and imprison me for no just cause.
“The allegation of trespass against me has been subject of a petition to the Presidency and litigation in the past few years.
“The subject matter, which was re-presented to the FCT High Court as trespass on July1, 2016, is a civil dispute between Alhaji Ibrahim Gusau and Inuwa Abdulkadir on one hand and Alhaji Lawal Abba on the ownership of Plot 105 Cadastral Zone, Aso Drive. The case is pending before the Court of Appeal with Appeal No. CA/A/197/09.”
He described as “laughable” the charge that he trespassed into a plot of land that he bought with N500m.
He maintained that he was not a fraudulent person and urged Nigerians to disregard the charges instituted against him.
He stated, “It is laughable to claim that I had trespassed on the plot which a High Court declared as not belonging to Alhaji Lawal Abba. Nigerians should ask Abba on what basis he petitioned the AGF, Mr. Abubakar Malami.”