Godwin Tsa Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court yesterday ordered the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, to produce the army personnel, who allegedly aided the initial escape of the kidnap suspect, Hamisu Bala Ibrahim known as Wadume, in court.
Justice Binta Nyako ,gave the order after the absence of the army personnel in court stalled the arraignment of Wadume and other defendants. Justice Nyako while ruling on the application moved by the prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, directed Buratai and Olonisakin to release the army officers for prosecution on March 30.
Wadume was allegedly freed by some military personnel, who attacked policemen taking him to the Taraba Command headquarters on August 6, 2019 after his arrest. He was later recaptured in his hideout in Kano 13 days after by the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT),led by DCP Abba Kyari.
During proceedings yesterday, prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, urged the court to make an order compelling the military heads to release the 2nd to 11th defendants for prosecution. Lough told the court that the Nigerian Army had rejected the request by the police asking for the release of the suspected officers for prosecution. He said he relied on section 87 and 159 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which empowered the court to compel any suspect standing trial to appear in court.
Wadume and other suspects, who appeared in court on Monday, could not take their plea as a result of non-appearance of the army personnel.
Justice Nyako was forced to adjourned the matter until March 30 for hearing.
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has slammed 16 counts bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against the Taraba kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume), Captain Tijjani Balarabe and 18 others.
Also on the list of defendants are Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu; Private Ebele Emmanuel; ASP Aondona Iorbee and Insp. Aliyu Dadje and Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor. Others in the charge sheet are Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Ahmad Suleiman (aka Dan Ball); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); Hafizu Bala (aka Maiwelder); and Rayyanu Abdul.
The criminal charge dated February 3, 2020, obtained exclusively by our correspondent on Tuesday, was filed by the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough; Anthony Egwu, and Peter Amadi, all of the Legal/Prosecution Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
This is coming six months after Wadume was allegedly assisted to escape on August 6, 2019, by soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, led by Balarabe. Wadume escaped when the policemen, who arrested him, were attacked by the troops.