Niger judiciary said the parliament on Tuesday stripped the head of the opposition MODEN party, of his immunity from prosecution.
A Magistrate on Wednesday said on condition of anonymity that the office of the National Assembly has lifted parliamentary immunity of Bakary Seidou, thereby opening the way to his trial on charges of corruption.
He said Seidou was suspected of misappropriating 10 million dollars in food aid, using false documentation in 2005 when he worked in the office of then Prime Minister, Amadou Hama, now MODEN leader.
The Magistrate said the move came after a court gave the green light in July for criminal charges to be brought against Hama.
He was being investigated in connection with a child-trafficking ring, together with his wife and some 30 other members of the political and social elite.
A government official said on condition of anonymity that the removal of Seidou’s immunity was requested by Issoufou’s government.
The source said this was aimed at allowing him to be arrested and detained by police at any time.
Seidou has pleaded innocent and denounced the move as a politically-motivated attempt to sideline him ahead of presidential elections due in 2015.
“I have all the proof to demonstrate my innocence and I have already shown this to the investigators”, he said.