Alleged kidnapping: Prosecution tenders six guns belonging to Wadume as exhibits

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The Federal Government, on Monday, tendered six guns as exhibits before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja to prove the allegation of kidnapping against the Taraba State’s kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume, and his co-defendants.

The 5th Prosecution witness, Inspector Samuel Abdullahi, while being led in evidence told the court that his team that investigated the issue involving Wadume and his codefendants retrieved the six guns from the kidnap kingpin.

According to the witness, Wadume instructed Rayyanu Abdul, the 7th defendant, based in Ibi to move the guns, which belongs to him, to a safe place, but when told that they needed money for spiritual prayers over his matter, Wadume ordered that two of the rifles be sold to raise money for that purpose.

He said Bashir Wazlri (aka Babaruns), the 5th defendant was in the Sharon vehicle that the military used in chasing the police operatives, which they shot and somersaulted, killing three policemen and two civilians.

The prosecution witness said, the six guns were retrieved from Bashir Waziri and Uba Bala, who were also defendants in the matter and kept in the custody of the exhibit keeper of the Nigeria Police.

The said guns, which were brought to court were tendered through the witness and admitted by the court as exhibits B, B1 to B5.

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Meanwhile, attempt to tender statements of the defendants made to the police was objected to by their counsel.

While counsel to the second and the sixth defendants objected to the admissibility of the statements on the grounds that the statements of their client were obtained by inducement and torture and that the statements were written in English language while their clients made them in Hausa language, counsel to the 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 defendants said they will address the issue in their final address.

In view of the call for trial within trial by the 2nd and 6th defendants, the court conducted the trial to ascertain whether the statements were obtained by inducement or torture as alleged by the defendants.

Wadume and his codefendants are standing trial on charges, bordering on terrorism and kidnapping brought against them by the federal government.

It would be recalled that Justice Nyako denied the defendants bail while delivering a ruling in their bail application because she, “saw no reason to grant them bail,” having to give their trial accelerated hearing.

The judge however ordered that the defendants be moved from the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.

She also ordered that the authorities of the Correctional Centre in Kuje allow the defendants access to a medical facility and their lawyers while in their custody.

Wadume and his co-defendants are standing trial on a 13-count amended criminal charge bordering on terrorism, kidnapping and collection of N106 million ransom, among others.

Other defendants are: Police Inspector, Aliyu Dadje, Auwalu bala (aka omo razor); Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu); Bashir Wazlri (aka baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho) and Rayyanu Abdul.

They pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them and their lawyers accordingly moved their bail applications, which Justice Nyako declined to grant.

Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, 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 for interrogation before he was charged along with six others early in June 2020.

The soldiers who were initially charged along with Wadume had their names removed from the charge sheet as defendants by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, which took over the prosecution of the matter from the police.

The prosecution has so far called five witnesses in its efforts to prove its allegations against the defendants.

The court adjourned till July 15, 2020 for the continuation of trial.

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