10 alleged killer soldiers absent from court
Edozie Udeojo, Abuja
The trial of the Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, popularly known as Wadume, was on Monday stalled due to the absence of the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako of the the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Reports say the prosecution and defence teams were present in court while Wadume and six other co-defendants were produced in court for the proceedings but the scheduled trial could not proceed due to the absence of Justice Nyako.
However, the 10 alleged killer soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe initially charged as Wadume’s co-accomplices in the case were absent despite calls on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), to arrest and prosecute the military personnel.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who took over the case from the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Muhammad Adamu, had in an amended charge, dropped the names of 10 soldiers, including Captain Tijani Balaraba who were initially charged for the alleged crime.
All the cases including that of Wadume and his co-accomplices (adjourned till July 1st) were adjourned due to the absence of Justice Nyako.
Wadume’s co-accomplices allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians, while five other police officers were injured, during the soldiers’ attack, as the six soldiers helped the kidnapper escape after he was arrested in Ibi, a part Taraba State, on August 6, 2019.
The withdrawal of the soldiers from the charge had attracted wide condemnations from the public, including members of the families of the victims killed by the soldiers, who called for their arrest and prosecution.
The 10 soldiers attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, allegedly helped Wadume to escape from the policemen taking him to Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, after he was arrested in Ibi, a part of the state, on August 6, 2019.
The troops led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians, while five other police officers were injured, during the soldiers’ attack.
Those killed in the attack included Inspector Mark Ediale, 36, Sgt. Dahiru Musa, 40, Owolabi Babajide, 24, Farouk Bashir, 30, and Usman Danazumi, 44.