Abuja -The Federal High Court on Monday fixed Nov. 7 to deliver judgment on terrorist charges filed against Kabiru Umar aka “Kabiru Sokoto’’.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who gave the date after counsel to the parties had adopted their final written addresses, said that the date was tentative.
“I will try hard to give my decision in the case within a month; Nov. 7 is therefore tentatively reserved for judgment.’’
The State Security Service (SSS) on April 19 arraigned the accused in connection with the Dec. 25, 2011 bombing of the St. Theresa Catholic Church, Madalla in Niger.
Umar was also allegedly found to have facilitated the execution of a terrorist act within the period.
Addressing the court, Mr Sheriff Okoh, counsel to the accused, said the court should discountenance the charges brought against his client.
He submitted that the three main statements filed by the Investigative Police Officer and two other prosecutors against the accused were forged.
“My Lord, the court, being a court of equity and justice, should take judicial notice of the statements of the IPO and witnesses ABC and XYZ as we believe they are dubious and are the handiwork of one person.
“My Lord we are urging the court to discharge and acquit the accused as no real evidence is before the court connecting him to the alleged terrorist attacks.
“More so, the escape of the accused person on Jan.15, 2012 was not reflected in the three statements written on Jan. 17, 2012, thereby bringing the authenticity of the documents to question.
“This further clearly shows that the witnesses lacked credibility and their testimonies should not be used to convict the accused person.
“My Lord it is also expedient to state that the accused person has not committed any of the allegations; he neither had prior knowledge of the bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church nor planned to bomb the Police Headquarters in Sokoto.’’
On the allegation that his client was a member of the Boko Haram Sect, Okoh said that until the sect was proscribed it was not declare an illegal body.
He also said that the country’s constitution did not criminalise membership of the sect.
“We pray the court to hold that Umar was not wrong to have belonged to the group before it was proscribed after his arrest,’’ he said.
On her part, Mrs Chioma Nwegbu, the prosecutor, urged the court to dismiss the submissions made by Sherriff, as according to her, the accused person confessed to all the allegations.
“My Lord, the confessional statement of an accused person is enough in law to be used to convict such a person.
“My Lord, Umar has confessed to be the Head of the Boko Haram that directed the operation which saw to the bombing of the St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Niger.
“My Lord, Umar further agreed to be a senior member of the `Sura’, the ruling Council of the Sect that plans, and direct the execution of terrorist act across the country.
“The statements of the IPO, ABC and XYZ are mere collaboration to what the accused person had confessed to.
“Our arguments were based on facts. The confessional statement and the statements made by the witnesses are credible.
“I humbly pray the court to resolve all the issues canvassed in favour of the prosecution and convict the accused person.
“That way, justice would be seen to have been served, as families and surviving victims of the attacks are still waiting for such equity,’’ she said.
On the allegation of torture and threat to the life of the accused person and his team of lawyers, brought against the SSS, the Judge fixed Oct. 25 to hear the defendant’s motion.
NAN recalls that Umar was also accused of facilitating the execution of a terrorist act within the period, contrary to the provisions of Section 4(1) (a) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 and punishable under Section 33(1) (b) of the same Act.
According to the charge, the suspect also committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004.
NAN reports that two of the three count charges attract life sentence, but the accused pleaded not guilty. (NAN)