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Boko Haram: Gov Sheriff challenges murder charge

By Ndahi Marama, Maiduguri
Family of the late Boko Haram leader,  Mallam Mohammed Yusuf, allegedly killed in a gun- shoot out by the police during the insurgency July last year has dragged President Umaru Musa Yar Adua; Inspector General of Police, Mr Ogbonnaya Onovo; Governor Sheriff of Bornu state and the Borno State Attorney General before the state high court over the brutal murder of their father.

Borno state governor,  Ali Modu Sheriff,  who is also one of the accused had last Tuesday in the court,  challenged the procedure adopted in filing a murder case preferred against them by the plaintiff.

It would be recalled that a Maiduguri High Court last month granted an application sorted by counsels to Babakura Alhaji Fugu, eldest son of the late Fugu and leader of the family to serve  court summons on all the defendants.

However, President Umaru Yar’Adua and Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo who were also joined as defendants in the suit for the alleged murder of Alhaji Fugu Mohammed were not represented by any counsel.

Barrister Bukar Umar, counsel representing Sheriff, while arguing at the resumed hearing of the suit presided over by Justice Mohammed Mustapha, said the procedure for filing the case was improper.

He prayed the court to disregard the case as according to him, “the process of filing it was full of flaws as the plaintiff has erred for  filing the suit in consideration of provisions of Order 2 and Rule 2 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was just adopted in December last year.”

Barrister Umar insisted that the plaintiff should have filed the case by relying on the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules of the 1979 constitution.

In his submission, Barrister Yusuf Bado Mok, counsel to the attorney general of the federation, asked for an adjournment as he is residing in Abuja out of the jurisdiction of the case.

This he said was to give him more time and enable him to prepare all relevant documents and facts to counter the case.

Lead counsel to the plaintiffs,  Barrister Anayo Adibe, did not however object to the request.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Mustapha, granted the prayers and adjourned the case to Tuesday, March 2nd 2010 for continuation of hearing.

He however expressed dismay over the inability of the counsels to make effective preparation for the case despite the fact that notice of summons had been conveyed to their clients almost a month ago.

The judge who was visibly furious on the issue warned that henceforth he will not condone indiscriminate adjournment.


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