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Boko Haram: Abuja Court Sets Three Suspects Free

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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As SSS fails to file charge against them SAN FRANCISCO, January 23, (THEWILL) - Freedom came for three Boko Haram suspects on Thursday as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja ordered their release following the failure of the State Security Service (SSS) to file charges against them.

The court on January 13 had directed the Federal Government to file formal charges against the accused persons within seven days or risk their being released from the custody of the SSS.

It would be recalled that the SSS had obtained a court order to detain the suspects for 45 days on November 25, 2013 through an exparte motion to enable it conclude investigation into the allegations against them.

But at the expiration of the 45 days on January 12, the SSS approached the court for an order to extend the time to another 45 days, an application, the court rejected.

The suspects, Mustapha Yusuf (aka Habib), Ismaila Abdulazeez and Ibrahim Isa Hayafu, therefore regained their freedom  on the orders of Justice Gabriel Kolawole  after three months  in detention without trial.

However , three others suspects, Dr.
Nazeef Yunus, a lecturer at the Kogi State University, Ayingba, who is believed to be the leader of the sect;   Umar Musa and Salami Abdullahi, arrested with them were  not so lucky.

The prosecution counsel, Mr.
Clifford Osagie, had  told  the court on Thursday that he had a motion exparte dated January 22  seeking  an order of the court for further extension of the detention period of   Yunus,  Musa and   Abdullahi by the SSS pending their arraignment for terrorism-related offences.

But counsel to Yunus, Mr.
Hassan Liman (SAN), objected to this as he reminded the court of its January 13 order.

He contended that the suspects ought  to have been put on notice and served with an application by the prosecution counsel if there would be any motion exparte for extension of the detention of the suspects.

He therefore urged the court not to take the application but  direct that the respondents be served with the application.

Agreeing with Liman, James Ocholi, counsel to Salami Abdullahi (6th accused) insisted that the motion exparte should not be taken since, going by the order of the court at the last adjourned date, 'today is meant for the SSS to report whether or not charges have been filed against the accused persons.

" Osagie however responded, saying  he had complied with the order of the court by filing charges against the remaining three suspects.

'We can simply say that we have complied with the order of the court.

That is why we are seeking further detention of the 1st, 2nd and 6th respondents pending their arraignment because the charges have been filed at the court.

'It is no longer in our hands, ours is to file the charge, which we have done.

It is left for the Chief Judge to fix a date for their arraignment but on the issue of the 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents, this court is at liberty to discharge them as no charge has been filed against them," he said.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Kolawole ordered the prosecution counsel to serve the motion exparte on the respondents, which he did after the matter was stood down by the court for that purpose.

As the court resumed, Umar Musa, the second respondent who admitted being served a copy of the motion exparte application, told the court to give him a day to secure the services of a lawyer.

Osagie said since the application has constructively become a motion on notice, 'it is only fair and in the interest of justice to give the second respondent the right to hire a lawyer.

" As both Liman and Ocholi did not oppose Musa's application, the court  therefore adjourned further hearing  on the  matter to January 28.

But  Justice Kolawole ordered that the three other suspects still be remanded under the custody of the SSS as the court directed all counsel in the matter to avoid late filing of processes, urging them to ensure that they file and serve their processes on or before January 24.

It would be recalled that the SSS had obtained a court order to detain the suspects for 45 days on November 25, 2013 through an exparte motion to enable it  conclude investigation into the allegations against them.

But at the expiration of the 45 days on January 12, the SSS approached the court for an order to extend the time to another 45 days, an application, the court rejected.