Trial of 73 Boko Haram suspects adjourned

The Federal High Court sitting in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger state has adjourned indefinitely the trial of 73 Boko Haram suspects, out of the 301 that were docked.

At the end of the trials at the weekend, 526 suspects who had been detained at the Kainji centre regained their freedom. There was no evidence to link them with the terrorist Boko Haram group.

Two hundred and five of the detainees earned various jail terms, out of the 301 cases that went on trial.

Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, gave more reasons for setting the 526 suspects free.

These include their being of minor age and suspected mental illness.

The suspects were arrested at different states and detained in Wawa Cantonment on suspicion they belong to the Boko Haram terrorist group.

One of the suspects discharged and acquitted by the judge was Modu Maina, a native of Bama LG, Borno State.

He was arrested in Ketu, Lagos State where he worked as a gateman. Maina confessed that he was forcefully initiated into the Boko Haram group but relocated to Lagos to avoid being arrested in Bama.

He said that all the confessional statements he made to the Joint Task Force (JTF) was done under torture.

The presiding judge, having reviewed the defendant’s written confessional statements, found him not guilty.

All the 205 convicted and sentenced to imprisonment admitted being members of the terrorist group and they also concealed information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance that could lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of other Boko Haram members.

Their jail terms ranged from 3 to 60 years.

Most of the convicts also claimed that they could not report the activities of the terror group because they harboured fears of being killed and that at the time they were arrested most villages had been ravaged by the Boko Haram including the security posts.

Alhaji Bukar Jindi who was sentenced to 16 years and 50 years on two count charge was not remorseful. Indeed he vowed to go rejoin the group released.

The trial of the suspects, the second batch to be done, was witnessed by representatives of the National Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Bar Association and the media.


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