Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has taken over the prosecution of the alleged Taraba kidnapping kingpin, Bala Hamisu, popularly known as Wadume, and 19 others from the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
The police had on February 3, 2020, arraigned Wadume and 19 others, including two police officers and 10 soldiers, in court on a 16-count charge bearing on terrorism, murder, kidnapping, and illegal arms running.
But only Wadume and five of the other 19 defendants were in court on Wednesday and none of the 10 soldiers among the defendants were present in court, just as when the case was first mentioned in court on March 16, 2020.
The lawyer who was then prosecuting the case on IGP’s behalf, Simon Lough, had informed Justice Binta Nyako at the March 16 proceedings that the Army had rebuffed repeated requests to release the soldiers for arraignment.
This prompted the judge to order the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to release the 10 defendants to the police.
Meanwhile, the prosecuting counsel from the AGF office, Labaran Magaji, who appeared in the case for the first time on Wednesday, told Justice Nyako that his office took over the case and received the case file from the police on Tuesday.
Magaji, therefore, requested an adjournment to enable him to make moves for the production of all the defendants in court.
The lawyer said, “The AGF office applied to take over the prosecution of the criminal charge. We were handed over the file yesterday(Tuesday). The case has about 20 defendants, but only six defendants are present in court.
“In the circumstances, we shall be asking for a short adjournment for the purpose of bringing all the suspects named in the charge.
“The prosecution shall do the needful to ensure that the case takes off immediately.”
But defence lawyers that were present in court did not oppose the request for adjournment.
The judge adjourned the matter till 10.30 am on June 8.
The soldiers among the defendants include Captain Tijjani Balarabe; Staff Sgt. David Isaiah; Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; and Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.
The other 10 defendants are, Wadume, ASP Aondona Iorbee, Inspector Aliyu Dadje, Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor, 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.