‘Even The Prophets Went To Prison’ – Sirika Comforts Himself In Court 

A former Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, standing trial for an alleged N7.2bn fraud, said he was ready to go to prison just like the prophets.

Sirika, his daughter, and three others were arraigned at a Federal Capital Territory High Court on Thursday on a six-count amended criminal charge before Justice Sylvanus Oriji.

A video of the ex-minister speaking in court with his lawyers surfaced on social media on Thursday.

In the video, Sirika, dressed in cream Babariga, could be heard saying, “It’s okay. Fatima, it’s okay,” while comforting his daughter.

He continued, “Even prophets have gone (to prison). Those that went, haven’t they finished theirs already?…whatever Allah says”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had accused the ex-minister, his daughter, son-in-law and Al-Duraq Investment Limited, of fraud in connection with the botched Nigerian Air project.

Meanwhile, the court granted each of the defendants bail in the sum of N100m with two sureties each.

Before the trial judge, Justice Sylvanus Orji granted the bail request of the defendants, they pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them after it was read out to them.

The prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, had informed the court of an amended charge by the EFCC dated May 7, and filed on May 8, which was not opposed by the counsel for the defendants.

Sirika’s lead counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), informed the court of his client’s bail application dated May 6.

The other defendants similarly, moved their bail applications and prayed the court to be liberal in the bail conditions.

Jacobs, on his part, told the court that all the defendants were on administrative bail and asked the court to grant bail on the condition that would make them appear for their trials.

Apart from the N100m bail, Justice Osuji added that one of the sureties must own a landed property with valid land titles in like sum within the Federal Capital Territory.

The judge also held that the sureties must depose to an affidavit of means while he barred the defendants from travelling outside the country without its permission.

He added that failure to fulfil the bail conditions would earn the defendants a stay in a correctional facility.

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