Wadume: Again, killer soldiers not in court, judge absent

The absence of Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja stalled the scheduled commencement of the trial of an alleged kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, also known as Wadume, on Monday.

Wadume, who is from Taraba State, and six other co-defendants were produced in court for the botched proceedings.

The prosecution and defence teams were also present in court.

But the 10 alleged killer soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe initially charged as Wadume’s co-accomplices in the case were absent.

They were not produced in court despite repeated calls on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), by activists, lawyers, and members of the families of the victims allegedly killed by the soldiers to arrest and prosecute the military personnel.

In the absence of Justice Nyako on Monday, all the cases, including that of Wadume, were adjourned till respective dates.

The Wadume’s case was adjourned till July 1.

The 10 soldiers attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, allegedly helped Wadume to escape from the policemen taking him to Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, after he was arrested in Ibi, a part of the state, on August 6, 2019.

The troops led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians, while five other police officers were injured, during the soldiers’ attack.

Those killed in the attack are Inspector Mark Ediale, 36, Sgt. Dahiru Musa, 40, Owolabi Babajide, 24, Farouk Bashir, 30, and Usman Danazumi, 44.

The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, in February this year, slammed 16 counts bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against Wadume, eight alleged civilian accomplices, two police officers and the 10 soldiers, who allegedly killed the policemen that took Wadume in custody.

Among the 20 defendants charged by the IGP are the 10 soldiers, including Captain Balarabe, named as the 2nd to the 11th defendants.

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), acting on behalf of the family of one of the slain policemen, Inspector Mark Ediale, had in a letter dated June 15, 2020 and sent to the AGF office the same day, demanded the arrest and prosecution of the soldiers within seven days.

Falana threatened to take “appropriate action” should the minister fail to grant the request within the seven days period.

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