In the morning of Friday, January 17, 2014, Nigeria’s Supreme Court unanimously decided that Mohammed Abacha, son of the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, must be returned to an Abuja High Court and face his trial for theft.
A 123-count criminal charge has been brought against him by the Federal Government of Nigeria, wherein he was alleged to be in possession of stolen properties belonging to the Federal Government. The theft was allegedly committed by the late despot who stole the country blind when he ruled Nigeria.
Mohammed Abacha had previously unsuccessfully attempted to foil his trial. Then he proceeded to the Court of Appeal, where he lost. Finally, he approached the Supreme Court.
The son of the late ruler had argued that the immunity enjoyed by his father, while in office, extended to him and that having forfeited some of the family’s properties confiscated by the government, he should be exempted from prosecution in line with the he provisions of Decree number 53 of 1999.
The learned Justices however unanimously disagreed with Mohammed and therefore decided that immunity does not extend beyond the tenure of office and that even if the late head of state were alive, he could have been prosecuted for a criminal offence, not to talk of his son, who has never been a State Leader. Therefore, Mohammed Abacha has to go and face his trial at the Abuja court.