Posted by Simon Imobo-Tswam, Abuja | 21 March 2013 | 4,569 times
Justice Ademola Adeniyi, the trial judge in the case involving Kabiru Umar, a.k.a Kabiru Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the 2011 Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madella, Niger State, yesterday lambasted the State Security Service (SSS), accusing it of shoddy prosecution.
This happened when the SSS arraigned Kabiru Sokoto, who has been in their custody for over a year, before the Abuja Federal High Court, without proof of evidence and case summons to
the charges preferred against him.
When the case came up yesterday, the SSS prosecuting counsel, Mrs. Chioma Onuegbu, told the
court that they had filed an amended charge that morning, but showed no proof of evidence or a written case summons.
But Justice Adeniyi, who was obviously displeased, said the SSS ought to have attached both proof of evidence and case summons to the charges.
The judge consequently ordered that the prosecuting counsel prepare trial indictment copies, proof of evidences, summary of case, copies of the amended charges, other relevant processes and serve same on the accused person, on or before April 12.
The judge also granted Kabiru Sokoto’s request to have access to a lawyer of his choice.
He equally ordered the prosecution to specify whether the state will tender more evidence and how long it will take to come if any.
The judge said since Kabiru had the constitutional right to have legal representation, the time was not ripe for the suspect to take his plea.
“These kinds of matters are handled with dispatch. The court is ready to go on but for the
negligence on the part of the prosecution not to do the needful. In this regard, the suspect shall return to the court on April 19 to take his plea,” Justice Ademola ruled.
He further ruled: “The prosecution is mandated to file and serve the suspect with the statement of evidence seven days before the new date of arraignment.
“The prosecution is ordered to prepare trial indictment and evidence and serve same on the suspect. A written case summons should be served on both the court and the suspect.
“The prosecution should also specify whether it has further evidence to produce. The following
documents will properly guide the management of the case. The suspect is to be remanded in the custody of the SSS.”
Earlier, the suspect who spoke through an interpreter prayed the court to avail him two weeks to seek the services of a lawyer, revealing that the SSS only informed him about his arraignment yesterday when they were taking him to court.
News Express reports that the three-count charge against the suspect, in case No. FHC/ABJ/CR/38/2013are:
“That you Kabiru Umar (alias Kabiru Sokoto) member of an illegal terrorist organization known and called Boko Haram, between 2007 and 2012 at Mabira Sokoto, Sokoto state did facilitate the commission of terrorist act to wit: by planting and encouraging your boys (now at large) at Mabira Sokoto, in Sokoto state with the intention to bomb the police headquarters Sokoto and some other government organizations in the state and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act
2004 and punishable under the same Act.”
“That you Kabiru Umar (alias Kabiru Sokoto) on or about the 25th of December, 2011 at St Theresa's Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State, had information about the bombing of Madalla Catholic Church and fails to disclose it to law enforcement officer as soon as reasonable
practicable, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 7(1) of Terrorism and Prevention Act 2011, and punishable under Section 33(1) of the same Act.”
“That you Kabiru Umar (alias Kabiru Sokoto) about July 2011 at Abaji, support the act of terrorism by training about 500 men and inciting them to commit a terrorist act, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 4(1)(a) of Terrorian and Prevention Act 2011, and
punishable under Section 33(1)(b) of the same Act.”
News Express recalls that Kabiru Sokoto was first arrested at Mutum in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba on January 1, 2012 by the police but escaped from custody two days later when he was being taken to his residence at Abaji in the FCT for a search.
He was, however, re-arrested in a joint military-SSS operation at a hideout where he was hiding in clothes rack at the residence of an accomplice at Umaisha in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State before he fled to Taraba where he was eventually re-arrested.
•Photo: Suspected terrorist Kabiru Sokoto.
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