A Nigerian court has ordered a former state governor, already facing graft charges, to appear before it to face charges of murdering a political rival in 2005, the Nigerian press reported on Saturday.
On Friday a top court of southwest Ekiti state ordered Ayodele Fayose, who has being in prison since Monday, to appear on Jan. 9 to face charges over the murder of Tunde Omolaja.
Fayose was charged with corruption on Monday, three days after he turned himself in to the anti-corruption Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He had spent more than a year on the run and pleaded not guilty to 51 criminal charges.
The ex-governor is accused of committing the murder along with 10 of his former aides, nine of who are already in detention.
“You are hereby commanded to produce the said prisoner before court … on the 9th day of January,” the court said in the warrant for the arrest of Fayose and another accused.
There were a series political assassinations in Ekiti while Fayose was governor, including that of Ayo Daramola, a rival for the governorship, who was stabbed and shot in his house on Aug. 14 2006.
The ex-governor went into hiding in October 2006 after the state house of assembly impeached him over alleged corruption, stripping him of constitutional immunity from prosecution.
Fayose is the seventh ex-governor to be charged with corruption since President Umaru Yar’Adua and a new crop of state governors took office after April elections.
The former Ekiti governor is accused of stealing 1.4 billion naira ($12 million) meant for a state government poultry farm, and of money laundering. The EFCC says the crimes were committed in 2004.
Nigeria’s 36 state governors have discretionary powers over of public funds and enjoy immunity from prosecution while in office.
Ekiti got a new governor after elections in April although his victory is being challenged at an electoral tribunal by rival candidates who allege widespread vilence and fraud — a pattern all over Africa’s most populous country. Yar’Adua’s victory in the presidential vote is also being contested in court over alleged vote-rigging.