Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya at the scene of the bomb attack on an Abuja-Kaduna train.
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA– The Federal Government, on Tuesday, arraigned the Abuja-Kaduna train kidnap negotiator, Mr. Tukur Mamu, on a 10-count terrorism charge.
FG, in the charge it entered before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, alleged that Mamu aided terrorist operations in the country.
The Kaduna-based Islamic scholar was further accused of collecting various sums of money in different currencies from families of victims the train attack, on behalf of the Boko Haram terrorists sect.
It told the court that investigations revealed that the defendant collected an aggregate sum of $420, 000 from families of the victims, as well as N21million from another set of families of the train attack.
FG further alleged that Mamu concealed funds he earned from services he rendered to the terrorist organization, in his residence in Kaduna State.
It told the court that the defendant had sometime in 2022, in Kaduna state, received ransom payments in the sum of N500, 000 on behalf of the Boko haram terrorist group, from families of the train attack that were held as hostages.
More so, in the charge that was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, DPPF, Mr, M.B. Abubakar, FG added that the defendant exchanged voice note communications with one Baba Adamu, identified as spokesperson of the Boko Haram, in relation to acts of terrorism.
It maintained that the defendant acted in breach of the Terrorism Prevention, Prohibition Act, 2022.
Meanwhile, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as he prayed the court, through his lawyer, Mr. Mohammed Ndanusa, to release him on bail pending the determination of the case against him.
Ndanusa told the court that his client was suffering an ailment that would require urgent surgical operation.
Besides, he argued that he ought to be allowed to enjoy the right of presumption of innocence guaranteed to him by the 1999 Constitution, as amended.
However, FG’s lawyer, Mrs. Aderonke Imana, who had earlier requested for a trial date, opposed the bail application.
The prosecution counsel insisted that the medical team of the Department of State Service, DSS, were capable of handling any ailment the defendant was suffering from.
After he had listened to both parties, trial Justice Inyang Ekwo deferred his ruling on the bail application.
However, the trial judge gave the DSS the nod to further retain the defendant in its custody, pending the determination of his request for bail.
It will be recalled that Mamu was on September 6, 2022, arrested at Cairo, Egypt, while he was on his way to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj with his family members.
He was subsequently brought back to the country and immediately taken into custody by the DSS which subsequently obtained a detention order against him.
DSS had in an affidavit that was deposed to by one of its operatives, Hamza Pandogari, told the court that Mamu, who is the publisher of Dessert Herald, used the cover of journalism to perpetrate his deeds.
It told the court that the detained publisher was on his way to attend a clandestine meeting with top terrorist commanders, when he was intercepted in Egypt through the help of the International Police, Interpol.
It alleged that preliminary investigations revealed that Mamu may be involved in terrorism financing.
“The self acclaimed Kaduna train negotiator exploit the opportunity to perpetrate, aid and abets as well as render support to both local and international terrorist organisations.
“That the respondent was intercepted by the Nigerian foreign partners at Cairo, Egypt, on 6th September, 2022, while on his way to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with commanders and top leaders of terrorists organisations across the globe.
“That upon his interception, and subsequent repatriation back to Nigeria, a duly signed search warrant was executed in his residence and office at No. 4, Ali Ladan Street, Sabon Kawo GRA and No. 14, Mamona Road, Anguwan Sarki, Kaduna State and various exhibits and items to establish his complicity with terrorists were recovered”, the affidavit read.
More so, the DSS, told the court that following the execution of the search warrant, various incriminating items were recovered from Mamu’s residence and office.
It listed some of the 34 recovered items to include; 151 dollars, 20 pounds sterling; 1, 530 Indian Rupees; one Saudi Riyald; 70 Dirham; one million, five hundred and six thousand naira; and 16 assorted foreign coins.
The DSS also alleged that two packs of pump action cartridges; 16 ATM (auto-mated machine) cards from both local and foreign banks; seven cheque books of different banks; six laptops; four tablets; 24 handsets and three international passports belonging to Mamu; one firearm licence; eight pieces of Nigerian Army uniforms; 16 pieces of Nigerian Naval uniforms, were also recovered.
“Preliminary investigation so far established, amongst others, the offences of logistic supplier, aiding and abetting acts of terrorism as well as terrorism financing against him.
“That the defendant (Mamu) has used the cover of his profession as a journalist to aid both local and international terrorist groups.
“That the action of the defendant has orchestrated the untimely death of several security personnel in North Central and North East parts of Nigeria.
“That the defendant has discreetly given several information to bandits and terrorists that escalated various acts of terrorism in Nigeria”, it added.
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