Wadume: Court admits six guns in evidence

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The Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday, admitted six guns including AK47 rifles in evidence against alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala (Wadume) and six others.

Wadume and the others are standing trial on charges of alleged terrorism and kidnapping.

At the resumed trial, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Yetunde Adeola-Cole, called the prosecution’s sixth witness, Inspector Samuel Habila.

Habila told the court that he had worked with the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for 20 years and was attached to the Intelligence Response Team at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.

The witness told the court that the rifles were recovered from the defendants in the course of investigation.

The witness identified the guns which were admitted in evidence by the court and marked exhibit B to B5.

He also told the court that during investigation, it was discovered that the 5th defendant in the matter, Baba Runs, accompanied the soldiers who attacked the police vehicle that carried Wadume after he was arrested, killing three operatives and two civilians.

However, when Adeola-Cole sought to tender the statements made by the defendants, counsel to all the defendants objected to the admissibility of the statements on different grounds.

For the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants, their counsel Mr Ishaku Dikko (SAN), Mr Y.D Dangana, Mr Amanzi Amanzi and Mr Lukmon Fagbemi objected on the grounds that the Hausa version of their clients’ statements, which were translated into English, were not before the court.

The four counsel, however, said that they would address the court on the issue during their final addresses.

For the 2nd defendant, Inspector Aliyu Daju, his lawyer, Mr M.I Tona told the court that his client was induced into making his statement.

The lawyer told the court that he was asked to implicate the military in order to be set free.

For his part, Mr Yakubu Philemon, counsel to the 6th defendant, Zubairu Abdullahi, told the court that his client was tortured into making his statement.

Both counsel requested for a trial-within-trial, which the court granted.

Testifying at the trial-within-trial, Daju told the court that after he was arrested, he was ordered to make a statement to favour the police.

“Inspector Bitrus ordered me to record my statement myself. That if I record the statement in favour of the Intelligence Response Team, they will set me free.”

For his part, Abdullahi told the court during the trial-within-trial that he was tortured by Habila and his colleagues and forced to admit to what he knew nothing about.

“I was tied both hands and legs and hung over two drums with building blocks placed on my back.

“For about 30 minutes, they insisted that I should accept that I collected guns from Hamisu Bala which I refused.

“They beat me to a point that I could no longer hear them and I didn’t know where I was any longer.

”One of them climbed my body and was using his legs to message me, I had to agree to what they wanted me to agree to because of the torture,” Abdullahi said.

Habila, who was also the prosecution’s witness in the trial-within-trial, however, denied all the allegations.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned the matter until July 15 for continuation of trial.

Other defendants are Auwalu Bala (omo razor); Uba Bala (Uba Delu); Bashir Waziri (baba runs) and Rayyanu Abdul

Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba, on August 6, 2019, by policemen from the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of the Police office.

He was arrested for a kidnap case in which he was said to have demanded N106 million as ransom.

The alleged kidnapper was being conveyed from Ibi to Jalingo, when some soldiers, led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe, shot at them, killing three of the policemen to free Wadume from custody.

Wadume was later rearrested and charged along with six others in June.

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