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Minister of Justice takes over trial of kidnap Kingpin Wadume, 19 others

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Wadume Soldiers

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar  Malami has taken over the prosecution of alleged kidnap kingpin, Alhaji Hamisu Bala, also known as Wadume (33 years) and 19 others charged with terrorism, kidnapping and dealing with prohibited arms.

The case commenced via a 16-count charge filed on January 21 this year, by Simon Lough (an Assistant Commissioner of Police) in the name of the Inspector General of Police (IGP).

A senior lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Magaji Labaran told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday that the AGF has taken over the prosecution of the case pursuant to his power under Section 174(2) of the Constitution.

Labaran said the case file was handed to his office the previous day. He noted that only six, out of the 20 defendants, were present in court.

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He sought a short adjournment to enable him to put things in order and liaise with the arresting and investigating agencies to ensure that all the defendants are brought to court.

Lawyers to the defendants, including Y. D. Dagana, M. I. Tola and Yakubu Philemon did not object to the request for an adjournment.

Philemon, who represented the 16 to 19 defendants, said his clients were absent in court because of the current inter-state lockdown.

Justice Binta Nyako adjourned till June 8 for arraignment.

Read Also: Kidnap suspect Wadume’s trial stalled as military fails to release defendants Wadume and others were arrested in Taraba State following last year’s ambush on a team of policemen, who had gone to effect his arrest. About three policemen lost their lives in the incident.

Ten soldiers, including a Captain and two policemen, are among the19 people charged with Wadume.

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The soldiers are Ahmed Tijani Balarabe (Captain), David Isiah (Staff Sgt), Ibrahim Mohammed (Sgt), Bartholomew Obanye (Cpl), Mohammed Nura (Private), Okoroze Gideon (L/Cpl), Markus Michael (Cpl), Nvenaweimoemi Akpagra (L/Cpl), Abdullahi Adamu (Staff Sgt) and Ebele Emmanuel (Private).

The policemen are Aondona A. Iorbee (ASP) and Aliyu Dadje (Inspr).

Others are: Auwalu Bala (a. k. a Omo Razor), Uba Bala (a. k. a Uba Delu), Ahmad Suleiman (a. k. a Dan Ball), Bashir Waziri (a. k. a Baba Runs), Zubairu Abdullahi (a. k. a Basho), Hafizu Bala (a. k. a Mai welder) and Rayyanu A. Abdul.

They were, in one of the counts, alleged to have, “between February and April 2019 in Takum Taraba State, while acting in concert and armed with guns and other offensive weapons attacked and kidnapped one Usman Garba at his filling station in Takum and demanded and collected a ransom of N106.3miliion before he was released and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(1) of Terrorism (prevention) Amendment Act 2013.

They were, in another count, alleged to have “while acting in concert and armed guns and other offensive weapons committed acts of terrorism when you attacked and killed Insp. Mark Ediale, Sgt Usman Danzumi, Sgt Dahiru Musa, Babajide Owolabi and Faruk Bashir in Gidin Waya Ibi LGA, Taraba State, in order to rescue Alh. Hamisu Bala ‘M’ 33yrs (a.k.a Wadume) a notorious kidnapped king pin, who was arrested in connection with several cases of kidnapping and the attacked and kidnapped of one Usman Garba (aka Mayo) where a ransom of N106million was demanded and collected and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(2) of Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.

Crime

Court sentences man to five years imprisonment for possession of hard drugs

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Delivering judgment, Justice Dorcas Agishi, described the illegal possession and trafficking of hard drugs as “detrimental’ and “dangerous” to the youths of the country.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested the convict in 2017 for trafficking in hard drugs including Tramadol, Dizapham, Exol-5 among others.

Okeke-Okoye was found guilty on two counts and sentenced to five (5) and two (2) years on each count, which are to run concurrently.

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“With the evidence available before this honorable Court, the accused is not a first offender who supply the dangerous substances.

“He has contributed to the destruction of the society through criminal tendencies especially selling illicit drugs against the law of Nigeria,” she said.

The judge explained that the testimonies of PW1 and PW3 are lucidly proven that the accused the offense without any doubt after she carefully studied all of them.

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She said: “the evidence in chief has already indicated the Okeke-Okoye, in which it clearly shows that his shop was raided by NDLEA head of operation sometimes in July 2017 and tremors, tramadol Dizapham, Exol-5 among others were uncovered.”

Earlier, NDLEA Counsel, Mr. S. Abdullahi, had told the court that offenses Committed by the accused contravened the provisions of Sections 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act.

Abdullahi asserted that the defendant was not a first offend, stating that he was convicted and sentenced twice for similar offenses.

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But the defense counsel, Mr. Nasir Idoko, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy as the accused is the breadwinner of the family and more so that he has pledged not to repeat or continue in the illicit drugs business again.

Idoko also claimed that the defendant was a first offender and should be treated with leniency.

Also speaking, Okeke-Okoye’s sick wife, who was present in court with their five children during the proceedings, pleaded for mercy.

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Crime

German police officers jailed for using office for sexual abuse

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Two German police officers each received prison terms of two years and three months on Monday for abusing their office to sexually abuse a Polish-born woman whose documentation they were investigating.

The prosecution had earlier dropped a charge of aggravated rape by the two men, aged 23 and 28.

The court found that the officers had traveled with the woman to her home in Marlishausen in the state of Thuringia in September 2019 to check her documents after doubting the authenticity of documentation she had presented.

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It acknowledged the possibility that the woman had initiated sexual intercourse but found that she had done this out of fear of the consequences should she not do so.

Where the prosecution had called for a suspended sentence, the court found that the crime had been deeply shocking and damaging to the integrity of the police and imposed a prison term.

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Crime

Court remands teenager over alleged murder

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  An Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court on Monday ordered the remand of a 17-year-old, Ojo Peter, at the Correctional Centre in Ado-Ekiti over alleged conspiracy and murder.

The defendant, whose address was not provided, is being tried for alleged murder.

The police prosecutor, Insp. Caleb Leramo told the Court that the defendant committed the offence on June 16, in Ado-Ekiti.

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He alleged that the defendant conspired with others to murder Obadare Falade, a 38-year-old man.

Leramo told the court that the defendant conspired with some mob in his neighbourhood and partook to beat up the deceased which eventually led to his death.

He noted that the offences contravened Sections 324 and 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

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The prosecutor urged the Court to remand the defendant in the Correctional Centre pending legal advice from the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The plea of the defendant was not taken.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Abdulhamid Lawal, ordered the remand of the defendant at the Correctional Centre, pending issuance of legal advice.

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He adjourned the case until July 30 for mention.

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