The Attorney General of the Federation, Shehu Malami (SAN) will be appearing as lead prosecutor in the celebrated case of Hamisu Bala, a suspected kidnap kingpin better known as Wadume.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has taken over from the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the prosecution of the alleged Taraba State kidnapping kingpin, Bala Hamisu, also known as Wadume, along with 19 others on a 16 count charge bothering on terrorism.
The IGP had on February 3, 2020, slammed 16 counts of terrorism, murder, kidnapping, and illegal arms running against the 20 defendants, among whom are two police officers and 10 soldiers.
Only six of the 20 defendants, including Wadume, were present in court on Wednesday.
The 10 soldiers among the defendants were absent on Wednesday, a repeat of the scenario 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 the judge, 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.
A botched attempt arrest to Wadume had led to the killing of three policemen and a civilian in Taraba state. But he was rearrested.
Wadume is charged alongside Tijjani Balarabe, an army captain suspected to be involved in the killing of the policemen in an attempt to free Wadume, and 18 others.
At the hearing of the case on Wednesday, Shuaibu Labaran, a senior counsel from the ministry of justice, informed the court that the AGF has taken over the prosecution of the matter.
He asked the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the AGF to study the case file in order to take appropriate actions.
“The AGF has taken over the prosecution of this case,” he said
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.
He requested an adjournment to enable him to make moves for the production of all the defendants in court.
Magaji 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.” “So there is a need for us to review the charge and also liaise with the arresting agency to ensure that all the defendants are brought to court. We will do all that is necessary to ensure that justice is done in the matter.”
The Defense 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 are 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.
Binta Nyako, the judge, adjourned the matter till June 8 for re-arraignment of the defendants.