Who wrote the letter asking an Adamawa State High Court judge to release the convicted former governor of the state, James Balla Ngilari, from prison?
This is the key question the leadership of the Nigeria Prison Service was battling to unravel last night, a few hours after some forces within the service had connived to free Ngilari, who had barely served a month out of his five-year jail term, from prison.
According to reports on the Vanguard, although the authors of the letter asking the judge to release Ngilari from prison, had claimed that the communication emanated from the Headquarters of the NPS in Abuja, the Controller General, Mr. Ja’afaru Ahmed, last night denied knowledge of such a letter from his office.
A furious Ja’afaru, whose attention was drawn to the embarrassing development, immediately ordered the issuance of query and suspension of all the elements involved in the forgery of the letter freeing the former governor.
The National Public Relations Officer of the NPS, Mr. Francis Enobore, confirmed to Vanguard last night that the CG had already ordered a thorough investigation into the scam to enable the service deal decisively with the perpetrators of the crime.
This is to bring to the attention of all Nigerians that the Controller General of the NPS, Mr. Ja’afaru Ahmed, neither authorised the issuance of the said letter to the judge to release the convicted former governor nor was he briefed on the matter.
Accordingly, the CG has ordered the querying and suspension of all the officials involved in the embarrassing action so as to take necessary disciplinary actions against them.
As a result of the ugly development, the CG has written a protest letter to both the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice in Adamawa State and the judge, who granted Ngilari bail, that the said letter asking for the bail to be granted was clandestinely obtained.
Vanguard reports that the suspicious letter to the judge to free Ngilari was reportedly signed by one Mr John Bukar, Deputy Comptroller of Prisons in charge of Health, who claimed that the convict’s blood pressure and other ailments had reached an alarming level, giving the impression that the headquarters of his office had sanctioned the action.
The author of the letter made a case for Ngilari to be moved from Nigeria to seek medical attention in a Canadian Hospital in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, UAE.
Acting on the letter, the presiding judge, Justice Nathan Musa, ordered the release of the former governor from prison on bail in the sum of ₦100 million and two sureties.
Ngilari was convicted on March 6, 2017 to five-year imprisonment without an option of fine for fraud related offences while he was governor between October 8, 2014 and May 29, 2015.