Tuesday, 4 March 2014
Senator Ndume Contacted Boko Haram Leader 73 Times In One Month Says SSS-PREMIUM TIMES
An embattled Senator, Mohammed Ndume, who is facing charges for alleged links to the militant group, Boko Haram, contacted the group’s spokesperson 73 times within a month, investigators told a federal court on Wednesday.
Mr. Ndume was arrested late 2011 by the State Security Service, SSS, and accused of sponsoring the Islamist sect.
Mr. Ndume claims his contact with the group was necessitated by his membership of the Presidential Committee mandated to help restore peace to the troubled North East of the country.
Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for series of bombings and gun attacks that have plagued Northern Nigeria resulting in more than a thousand deaths.
The SSS said Mr. Ndume, who is from Borno State, the hotbed of the crisis, was constantly in touch with an alleged spokesperson of the group, Mohammed Konduga.
Mr. Konduga was convicted and is currently serving a three-year jail term.
Mr. Ndume’s phone call history is central to establishing his relationship with the sect; and on Tuesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja brushed aside the senator’s objection to admit the phone call logs as key evidence in the case.
The SSS told the court that the senator’s call log showed that he spoke with Mr. Konduga 73 times in October 2011.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Aliyu Usman, a forensic expert with the SSS, while giving evidence said the history of the communication contacts was contained in the two mobile telephones obtained from Mr. Ndume and Mr. Konduga.
Mr. Usman said the communication between the two persons took place between October 3, 2011 and November 3, 2011, adding that they were in the form of text messages and voice calls.
The telephone lines used were those of MTN mobile network, and the details of the communication were obtained from the network, he added.
Mr. Usman said adequate forensic analyses were carried out on the data extracted from the two phones before storing them on three DVDs.
Mr. Ndume’s lawyer, Rickey Tarfa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, again objected to the tendering of the DVDs as evidence on Wednesday arguing that they were secondary evidence and should have been accompanied by a statement.
He argued that the items were in violation of the Evidence Act.
“The essence of Section 102 of the Evidence Act is to guide against the tendering of fake computer generated materials,” he said.
But the prosecution lawyer, Thompson Olatigbe, said the items had already been admitted by the court and as such they became primary evidences.
On the absence of certification, Mr. Olatigbe argued that the witness merely transmitted the contents of the two phones into DVDs and produced hard copies, as according to him, the elements would be subjected to further tests by the court.