BOKO HARAM: COURT DECLINES JURISDICTION TO TRY SUSPECTS
Attempts by the police to prosecute 19 suspected members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram including the driver to the late leader of the group, Yusuf Mohammed suffered a major setback as the Chief Magistrate declined jurisdiction to hear the charges against.
The suspects also include four persons alleged to have masterminded the bomb attack on the United Nations House in Abuja that killed 23 people.
Although the suspects were put in the dock, they could not take plea as the court declined jurisdiction.
Chief Magistrate Azubike Okeagu said his court lacks the judicial competence to try the suspects as the charges against them were beyond the powers of the court. He therefore ordered that they should be remanded in police custody pending when they would be arraigned before an appropriate court.
Accordingly, he ordered the prosecution counsel, SP Chijoke Okezie to take the suspects to a court with competent jurisdiction for their trial.
He ruled that: 'After carefully reading through the charges, I discovered that this court lacks the requisite jurisdiction as the charges are beyond the powers of this court. I hereby direct the prosecution to arraign them before an appropriate court.'
Among the suspects was Aminu Husseni, a driver to the late sect leader, Mohammed, who was charged for mischief, culpable homicide and possession of firearms contrary to sections 327, 221 of the Penal Code Law and section 3(1) of the Robbery and Firearms Act Cap 390, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as amended.
According to the First Information Report [FIR], 'between 2009- July 5, 2011 at about 1100hrs, You Aminu Husseni [M] being a member of Boko Haram sect conspired with late Mohammed Yusuf, Mallam Bashir, Alh. Salisu Wudic, Mallam Abubakar, Mallam Zubairu Mohammed all of Maiduguri now at large and attacked police stations killing policemen in Maiduguri, Gombe and Bauchi and bombed Army Barracks in Bauchi and Sani Abacha Barrack killing innocent people. Further investigation revealed that one AK 47 riffle with No. 356856, one long knife and 13 AK 47 fully loaded with 650 rounds of live ammunition were recovered from you. You thereby committed the offence.'
For Shehu Ladan, Raboji Garba; Ahmadu Maiya, Nasiru Ali; Samaila Yusuf, Diga, Bello Yusuf and Umar Mohammed Dungudo – all arrested in Maiduguri, they were charged with illegal possession of firearms and belonging to unlawful society of Boko Haram contrary to Sections 300 of the Firearms Act Cap 398 LFN 2004 and section 97 B of Penal Code Law.
They were arrested while allegedly planning terrorist attack at Bauchi and its environs. Four persons – Salihu Muhammed, Yunusa Mukailu, Danzumi Haruna and Abdulsalami Adamu, were arrested and charged with masterminding the bomb attack on the United Nations House in Abuja.
They were arrested for mischief and culpable homicide punishable with death contrary to sections 327 and 221 of the Penal Code Law.
The police said they conspired and 'sent suicide bomber in a CRV/SUV car with registration number AV 38 NSR loaded with explosives who forcefully drove into the United Nations House in Abuja and detonated the explosives that killed about 25 people.'
Others are Mohammed Misbau Bilyaminu, Bashir Babagana, Yusuf Abdullahi; Suleiman Ahmed; Abubakar Mohammed; Bashiru Mohammed and Suleiman Mohammed who were arrested for offences of mischief, armed robbery, illegal possession of firearms and culpable homicide.
All the accused persons who looked malnourished, pale and unkempt with others carrying bullet wounds and were brought to court about 12.45 pm in two Toyota Hiace buses belonging to the Nigerian Police with registration numbers NPF 724 C and NPF 725 C respectively in tight security.