Malami takes over Wadume’s trial

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has taken over the prosecution of suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala (aka Wadume), 33, and 19 others charged with terrorism, kidnapping and dealing with prohibited arms.

The case started via a 16-count charge filed on January 21, this year, by Simon Lough, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), in the name of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

A lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Magaji Labaran, told a Federal High Court in Abuja Wednesday that the AGF had taken over the prosecution of the case pursuant to his power under Section 174(2) of the Constitution.

Labaran said the case file was handed over to his office the previous day, adding that only six out of the 20 defendants were present in court.

He sought a short adjournment to enable him put things in order as well as liaise with the arresting and investigating agencies to ensure that all the defendants are brought to court.

Lawyers to the defendants, including Y. D. Dagana, M. I. Tola and Yakubu Philemon, did not object to the request for an adjournment.

Philemon, who represented the 16 to 19 defendants, said his clients were absent in court because of the current inter-state lockdown.

Justice Binta Nyako adjourned till June 8 for arraignment.

Wadume and others were arrested in Taraba State, following last year’s ambush on a team of policemen from Abuja who were in the state to arrest him. Three policemen died in the incident.

Ten soldiers, including a Captain and two policemen, are among the 19 people charged with Wadume.

The soldiers are: Ahmed Tijani Balarabe (Captain), David Isiah (Staff Sergeant), Ibrahim Mohammed (Sergeant), Bartholomew Obanye (Corporal, Mohammed Nura (Private), Okoroze Gideon (Lance Corporal), Markus Michael (Corporal), Nvenaweimoemi Akpagra (Lance Corporal), Abdullahi Adamu (Staff Sergeant) and Ebele Emmanuel (Private).

The policemen are: Aondona A. Iorbee, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) and Aliyu Dadje (Inspector).

Others are: Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu), Ahmad Suleiman (aka Dan Ball), Bashir Waziri (aka Baba Runs), Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho), Hafizu Bala (aka Mai Welder) and Rayyanu A. Abdul.

They were, in one of the counts, alleged to have, “between February and April 2019 in Takum Taraba State, while acting in concert and armed with guns and other offensive weapons, attacked and kidnapped Usman Garba at his filling station in Takum and demanded and collected a ransom of N106.3 million before he was released and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(1) of Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013”.

They were, in another count, alleged to have, “while acting in concert and armed with guns and other offensive weapons, committed acts of terrorism when you attacked and killed Inspector Mark Ediale, Sergeant Usman Danzumi, Sergeant Dahiru Musa, Babajide Owolabi and Faruk Bashir in Gidin Waya Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State, to rescue Alhaji Hamisu Bala ‘M’ 33 years (aka Wadume) a notorious kidnapped kingpin who was arrested in connection with several cases of kidnapping and he attacked and kidnapped Usman Garba (aka Mayo) where a ransom of N106 million was demanded and collected and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) of Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013″.

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