…as court gives FG 72 hours to serve charge on suspects
BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA —- Failure of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, to honour a hearing notice served on him by the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, yesterday, frustrated the arraignment of Dr. Mohammed Yunus, a lecturer at Kogi State University and two other alleged sponsors of a Boko Haram cell situated at Igala land in Kogi State.
It will be recalled that the high court had on January 13, directed government to, within seven days, file formal charges against the accused persons or risk having them released for want of evidence.
However, on January 23 when the matter came up, counsel to the Department of State Services, DSS, Mr. Clifford Osagie, urged the court to allow it to further detain the accused persons, stressing that it had since concluded investigations in the matter and transmitted the case file to the AGF for prompt action.
Though six persons were initially apprehended by the DSS over their alleged romance with the Boko Haram sect, Osagie however told the court that no prima facie nexus was established against three of the suspects.
Consequently, trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole, on the last adjourned date, ordered immediate release of Mustapha Yusuf (a.k.a. Habib), Ismaila Abdulazeez , and Ibrahim Hayafu, who were hitherto in custody of the DSS alongside the lecturer, Yunus, since October 30, 2013.
While adjourning an application by the remaining accused persons, including Yunus, Salami Abdullahi and Umar Musa, seeking their release from detention, following inability of the Federal Government to charge them to court, Justice Kolawole, warned the government to take the prosecution of the accused persons seriously, even as he granted an appeal by the third accused person, to be allowed to secure the service of a defence counsel.
Meanwhile, at the resumed sitting yesterday, all the accused persons and their counsel appeared in court, only for it to be discovered that the AGF failed to assign any prosecutor for the matter.
Dissatisfied with the development, Justice Kolawole observed that the office of the AGF was duly issued a copy of the same hearing notice given to counsel to the accused persons, noting that the said notice which was served by the Chief Registrar of the Court through a bailiff, was equally acknowledged by the AGF on January 27.
In a short ruling, Justice Kolawole, said he was constrained to shift the trial to February 3, owing to the adjournment foisted on the court by the AGF.