The Federal Government has kicked off the trial of over 100 Boko Haram suspects in Kainji, Niger State.
Their cases are being handled by four dedicated courts put in place by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) in conjunction with the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati.
The suspects’ trial is in line with Malami’s concerted efforts to ensure expeditious disposition of the cases and the decongestion of prisons in the country.
Meanwhile, the leader of trial judges, Justice Binta Nyako, has led her team and prosecutors from the Federal Ministry of Justice as well as the defence team from the Legal Aid Council on an inspection tour of the facility.
The tour took place at 12.30pm on Tuesday after which the judges proceeded to their various chambers to begin the process of sitting in their respective courts.
In a press statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Minister of Justice Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, he said the suspects were arraigned in connection with various attacks in different locations in the country.
Isah who attended the trial at the Wawa Cantonment Prison facility in Kainji, Borgu Local Government Area of Niger State, said that most of the cases heard on the opening day were ex-parte motions in the four special dedicated courts located within the premises of the military facility.
Justice Nyako, the trial judge of Court 1 opened the process by hearing the first case of an ex-parte motion involving the Federal Republic of Nigeria versus Emmanuel Yakubu, Kamslim Abdullahi, Kefas Yusuf, Mohammed Garba and Ham Jangal and 95 others. The trial opened at 1.35pm.
Lead prosecuting counsel in the case, Mrs. Nkiruka Jones Nebo, an Assistant Director in the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federal Ministry of Justice, applied for the amendment of the title of the court to read holden at the Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State.
Nebo who led Mr. Y.A. Cole, a senior state counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice said, “the motion ex-parte was brought pursuant to Section 35 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), Section 299 0f ACJA 2015, Section 27 of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment Act) 2015 and under the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable court.”
In Court 4 which began sitting at 13:38pm, Mr. Labaran Magaji, a principal state counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice, had his request granted in his application made on behalf of the AGF for the transfer of one Adamu Abbdullahi (aka Danjuma) from the Kainji facility to Bauchi Prison to continue his trial. While Labaran was assisted by C.S. Nnanna, B.A. Adekunle of the Legal Aid Council announced appearance as his defence counsel in the case.
Proceedings in Court 2 began with case file no: FHC/KAINJI/CR/2/2017 at 13:50pm with the trial judge presiding. The suspects are Yusuf Abdullahi, Sani Mohammed, Baba Ari, Isah Abdullahi, Mohammed Kumchi and 95 others.
The prosecuting counsel, Mrs. G.N. Okafor sought an order of the court to remand the suspects in Kainji prison facility pending the conclusion of their investigation in the interest of justice.
The trial judge opened sitting in Court 3 at about 1:40pm with Kawulle Sani Abubakar and 99 others being arraigned. The federal prosecutor, Mrs. A. Adewnmi-Aluko led by O.J. Okpa and assisted by M.A. Abiodun prayed the court for time to conduct thorough investigation and sought that the suspects be remanded for 90 days.
The trial judge thus pronounced that the accused be remanded in prison custody to enable the prosecutors carry out thorough investigation and arraignment. The court rose by 2.15pm having adjourned till January 9th, 2018.