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Boko Haram: No Bail For Varsity Lecturer, Two Others As Court Orders Accelerated Trial

Source: thewillnigeria.com
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 08, (THEWILL) - A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Friday turned down the bail application for a lecturer of the Kogi State University, Dr.

Nazeef Yunus and two others , currently standing trial over allegations of belonging to the outlawed Boko Haram sect in Kogi State thus dashing their hope of regaining freedom soon.

Recall that Yunus, an Assistant Lecturer in Arabic and Islamic Studies at the Kogi State University, Lokoja, alongside Umar Musa and Salami Abdullahi had been arraigned by the Federal Government over their alleged involvement in terrorism activities.

Facing an eight-count terrorism-related charge, they were accused of being the leaders of a Boko Haram cell in Kogi State.

The suspects however pleaded not guilty to the charge as their counsel argued their bail application before the court.

But ruling on the bail the application on Friday , the trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, turned down the bail application of the accused , saying it is the duty of the court to assist the state law enforcement agents in their coercive action against terrorism, being mindful of the fundamental human rights of the accused.

The court also held that no reasonable court or tribunal would do otherwise, especially against the backdrop of the ongoing insurgency in the North East, particularly in the last four to six weeks.

"I hereby refuse the defendants application for bail and instead order accelerated trial of the accused persons.

Accused persons shall be remanded in Kuje prison pending the commencement of their trial on the adjourn dates", the judge ruled as he adjourned further hearing in the case to March 18,19, April 3, May 6,7, 14 and 15.

The lecturer and his co-travellers were alleged to have engaged in acts of terrorism and illegal possession of weapons, including two AK47 rifles, two magazines and 60 rounds of ammunition.

They were also accused of recruiting and organising members of the Kogi State Boko Haram cell, in addition to funding the outlawed terrorist organisation.

One of the suspects, Abdullahi, a prominent businessman, who reportedly owns a filling station in Kogi State, was equally accused of using the premises of the enterprise to facilitate terrorist activities.

The lecturer, Yunus, who was alleged to be the spiritual leader and coordinator of the Boko Haram sect in Kogi State, and the two others, have been in the custody of the State Security Service since their arrest in October 2013.

The SSS had accused the suspects of planning to launch an attack in parts of Kogi State before they were arrested at a mosque in Zuba, a town near Abuja, while on their way to Zambisa in Maiduguri, Borno State, for training.

It also alleged that the suspects planned to install Sharia in Kogi State.

At the last adjourned date , counsel to Yunus, Hassan Liman (SAN) brought a bail application praying the court to admit him to bail pending trial.

Liman submitted that the court should consider the Constitutional provision of presumption of innocence which an accused person enjoyed until it is determined otherwise.

On the death punishment if the accused is convicted, Liman submitted that the court still has discretion at the moment since the accused person has not been convicted.

Also the second accused person through his counsel, James Ocholi SAN prayed the court to admit him to bail.

He hinged his application on medical ground submitting that he is currently receiving treatment in Garki hospital, Abuja.

A letter to that effect was presented to the court.

Ocholi further submitted that going by the proof evidence placed before the court, there was nothing linking the second accused person to the alleged crime.

Arguing the bail application of the third accused person, Abdul Mohammed submitted that by the proof of evidence, it showed that the prosecution had finished investigation and hence such cannot be tampered with.

He further noted that the prosecution did not disclose the identity of the witnesses it is calling and so, the third accused cannot interfere with the witnesses.

Opposing the applications made by the accused persons, Prosecution counsel, M.

B Jones-Nebo submitted that the gravity of offence in which accused persons were charged attracts death on conviction.

She added that a prima facie case has been established against the accused persons.

The judge also opposed the medical report brought by the second accused person, saying it was an after thought as the report was signed after the accused person was arrested.

She added that the disease being suffered by the second accused person is a one that can be treated by the medical personnel in the prison where he is currently detained.