The Abuja High Court on Monday sentenced Ibrahim Wala, popularly known as IG Wala, to 12 years in jail after being found guilty of gathering unlawful assembly and criminal defamation of character.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu ruled that Wala is guilty of three of the four charges brought against him by Abdullahi Mukhtar, Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).
On September 26, 2017, Wala, convener of Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), had made a Facebook post accusing Mukhtar of corruptly enriching himself with N3billion after the 2017 Hajj.
“Official documents made available to CATBAN reveals that the Chairman of NAHCON, after the 2017 Hajj operations, makes not less than N3 billion for himself,” read a part of the post.
“In the interim, CATBAN tends to question how NAHCON expended the total sum of N97,906,500,000 (almost Hundred Billion) accrued from the payment of N1.5million by each individual that made up the 65,271 being the Total Number of Nigerian Muslim Pilgrims for 2017.”
Wala was arrested following a petition written by Mukhtar alleging public defamation of his integrity and the commission he heads.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Jalilu said that Wala was guilty of managing an unlawful association, inciting the public and defamation of character on social media.
He also ruled that CATBAN is unregistered, holding that the prosecution has been able to establish the offence of making an unlawful assembly.
The judge also said Wala was unable to provide evidence to back his claims that Mukhtar “enriched himself with N3billion”.
“Where is the document proving N3 billion made by Chairman of Hajj Commission?” he asked.
“Why has the accused person failed to tender such document now that he has been dragged before a court of law?”
In his ruling, the judge held that the failure of the accused to provide relevant documents to back his allegations, rendered the case of the prosecution less cumbersome.