The federal government initiative to quickly dispense Boko Haram cases officially began yesterday with the arraignment of over 300 out of over 1,600 suspects held at the military facility in Kainji, Niger State.
The suspects were arraigned in connection with various attacks in different locations in the country.
The special sitting in Kainji is part of ongoing efforts by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to ensure expeditious disposition of Boko Haram cases as well as prison decongestion in the country.
According to a statement from Salihu Isah, Special Adviser on Media to the AGF, Malami, most of the cases heard on the opening of trial were exparte motions in the four special dedicated courts located within the premises of the military facility by the acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati, recently.
The statement said Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge assigned to court 1, opened the process by hearing the first case to kick-start the federal government initiative to dispense the terrorism cases expeditiously.
“The case with Motion No FHC/KAINJI/CF/1/2017, an exparte motion involving the Federal Republic of Nigeria versus Emmanuel Yakubu, Kamslim Abdullahi, Kefas Yusuf, Mohammed Garba and Ham Jangal and 95 others opened at 1.35p.m.
“Lead prosecuting counsel in the case, Mrs. Nkiruka Jones Nebo, who is also an Assistant Director in the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federal Ministry of Justice, applied for the amendment of the title of the court to read at the Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State.
“Nebo who led Mr. Y.A. Cole, a senior state counsel in the Federal Ministry said: “The motion exparte was brought pursuant to Section 35 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Section 299 0f ACJA 2015, Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment Act) 2015 and under the inherent jurisdiction of this court.
“Such further order as this court may deem fit to make in the circumstance,” said the trial judge who directed that the accused be kept for 90 days in custody and ordered that if no case is preferred against them, they should show cause why they should not be released,” the statement read in part.
Isah also disclosed that sitting in court 4 began at 13:38, with the court granting the prayers of Mr. Labaran Magaji, a principal state counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
He had through his application made on behalf of the Attorney General of the Federation requested for the transfer of one Adamu Abbdullahi (aka Danjuma) from the Kainji facility to Bauchi Prison to continue facing his trial.
According to the statement, the suspect whose case was said to be awaiting judgment at the Bauchi judicial division, was one of the terrorism suspects transferred to the prison facility in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, in circumstances said to be for safe keep arising from rumours of planned jailbreak in prison facilities in North-east zone of the country.
“So, the prosecuting counsel, Labaran argued that the suspect don’t need to repeat the rigours of another round of trial but to be simply relocated to Bauchi judicial division where he was earlier charged to get judgment, a request the defence counsel did not object to in the interest of justice.
“Having heard from both sides, the trial judge ordered that the defendant be handed over to the Controller of Prison in Bauchi. He also said the state shall present the defendant to the Bauchi division of the Federal High Court for the purpose of conclusion of trial and delivery of judgment. He adjourned till November 15, 2017, for report of compliance.
“Abdullahi is accused of being in possession of two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with which he attempted to bomb the Central Mosque Fadamau Bauna in Bauchi,” he alleged.
He stated that proceedings in Court 2 began with case file no: FHC/KAINJI/CR/2/2017 at 13:50 p.m. with the arraignment of Yusuf Abdullahi, Sani Mohammed, Baba Ari, Isah Abdullahi, Mohammed Kumchi and 95 others.
Isah disclosed that the prosecuting counsel, Mrs. G.N. Okafor sought an order of the court to remand the suspects involved in Kainji prison facility pending the conclusion of their investigation in the interest of justice.
He added that Okafor appealed for more time so as to carry out thorough investigation, a request the judge granted with an order to keep the suspects not more than 90 days required by law to enable them carryout their investigation.
Isah said the court however adjourned till January 9, 2018, for next sitting.
According to him, “The trial judge opened sitting in Court 3 at about 1:40p.m. with Kawulle Sani Abubakar and 99 others being arraigned. Federal prosecutor, Mrs. A. Adewnmi-Aluko led by O.J. Okpa and assisted by M.A. Abiodun prayed the court for time to conduct thorough investigation and sought that the suspects be remanded for 90 days.
“The ten paragraph affidavit was deposed to by Major Etuami Biassoro Totoh, the Officer-in-Charge of the Kainji detention facility.
“The trial judge thus pronounced that the accused be remanded in prison custody to enable the prosecutors carry out thorough investigation and arraignment. The court rose by 2.15p.m. having adjourned to January 9, 2018,” the statement added.
Isah however noted that the leader of trial judges, Justice Binta Nyako, had led her team and prosecutors from the Federal Ministry of Justice as well as the defence team from the Legal Aid Council on an inspection tour of the facility at about 12.30p.m. before they proceeded to their various chambers to begin sitting in their respective courts.
11 October, 2017