By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – A total of 475 detained Boko Haram suspects, were on Friday, released by the Federal High Court sitting at Wawa Cantonment in Niger State and sent to their state governments for proper rehabilitation.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, who made this disclosure via a statement he issued on Sunday, said the suspects were freed after the prosecution failed to establish any link between them and the Boko Haram sect.
He noted that the suspects were arrested and detained on the basis of information that they either belonged to the proscribed terrorist group, or that they concealed vital information that would have helped security agencies to prevent the commission of acts of terrorism by members of the sect.
He said the prosecution could not charge them with any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them.
“Therefore, the suspects were released on motion exparte pursuance of section 35 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)”, the AGF added in the statement that was signed by his media aide, Mr. Salihu Isah.
Malami further revealed that the freed suspects were arrested at different states and moved to a detention facility at a military base in Kainji, Niger State.
Aside ordering the immediate release of the suspects from detention, the high court directed that they should be properly rehabilitated “at any appropriate center” to be provided by their respective states, before being re-united with their families.
“Those suspects who are mentally deranged or challenged with their health are to be provided medical attention at any appropriate medical or other mental health facilities.
“The states were also to provide appropriate training in the manner and for the period that the state deemed appropriate and reasonable.
“Among the list of the group released was a pathetic case of a female suspect, Lubabatu Yakubu who was arrested in 2014 by the officials of the Department of Security Services (DSS) in Numan town, Adamawa state, two days after marriage and divorced by her Boko Haram husband.
“Lubabatu was accused of her affiliation with Boko Haram husband.
“Another suspect, a young mother cuddling her three months old baby, Mariam Mohammed, a Shua Arab from Borno State was released. She was lured into the Boko Haram sect and taken to Sambisa forest by her elder brother and married off to his friend at eleven years old.
“She was arrested by soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in 2014 while trying to escape the Boko Haram enclave in the Sambisa Forest.
“Taye Hamza and Kehinde Hamza are both identical twins from Oyo State based in Bauchi State. They were amongst the lucky ones released.
“The twins who are mechanic by profession were arrested in 2010 by the DSS at their workshop in Bauchi State for servicing a vehicle belonging to the dreaded Boko Haram member.
“A 35 year old, Haruna Yahaya who was earlier sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for participating in the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State on Monday, was on Friday handed down an additional 15 years jail term.
“On Friday, the court sentenced him to additional 15 years imprisonment for being a mastermind of the said abduction.
“The presiding judge ordered that the Monday’s and Friday’s sentences imposed on Yahaya, who hails from Potiskum in Yobe State, would run consecutively.
It implies that the convict will have to spend 30 years in prison”, the AGF added.