Court slates May 18 for alleged Taraba kidnap kingpin Wadume, others to open defence

Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday fixed May 18, 2021, for the alleged Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume) and his co-defendants to open their defence in the terrorism charge preferred against them the Federal Government.

When the case came up on Tuesday, the prosecution, led by Shuiabu Labaran called its sixth and final witness, Inspector Ben Anthony, a police investigator.

Anthony who was led in evidence by Yetunde Cole told the court that he was part of the team that recovered four AK-47 rifles from Wadume’s brother, Uba Bala at Ibi in Taraba State.

He said: “While at Ibi, we got information that Wadume called his brother Uba and asked him to remove the guns from where he kept them.

“We left Ibi for Uba’s house and immediately he sighted us at the front of his house, he attempted to run but we followed him and arrested him.

“We then asked him where the guns were and he took us to an uncompleted building and showed us where he kept the guns.

“He gave us a hoe and cutlass to dig the place and I dug it myself and brought out a sack that contained four AK-47 rifles,” Anthony told the court.

Under cross-examination, Anthony said that the guns were released by the court to the police for safekeeping.

He also told the court that he did not have evidence of the call Wadume made to his brother, Uba asking him to remove the guns from where he kept them.

After the testimony of the sixth prosecution witness, Labaran informed the court that the prosecution had closed its case as Anthony was its last witness.

Counsel to Wadume, Dikko Ishaku (SAN) along with other defence counsel, told the court that they were not ready to open their case and asked for a date to open their defence.

Counsel to the third defendant, Y. Dangana, on his part, told the court that his client would not be opening his defence but would rather file a no-case submission.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako thereafter gave all the defendants who intend to file no-case submission 21 days within which to do so and adjourned the matter till May 18, 2021, for Wadume and his codefendants to open their defence or file no-case submission.

Wadume and his co-defendants were, on June 8, 2020, arraigned on a 13-count amended charge, bordering on terrorism, kidnapping and related offences.

The others arraigned with the alleged kidnap kingpin are, Aliyu Dadje (a police Inspector), Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu) Bashir Waziri (aka Baba Runs), Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho) and Rayyanu Abdul.

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) had, on June 3, last year took over the prosecution of the matter from the police, which had filed a 16-count charge bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against Wadume and his codefendants.

They were accused of conspiring to commit a felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

They were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act 2004.

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