March 13, 2024

Miyetti Allah’s leader, Bodejo detained for national security, FG tells court

Miyetti Allah’s leader, Bodejo detained for national security, FG tells court

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Abuja

The Federal Government, on Wednesday, explained why it has continued to detain the President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, saying it was in the interest of national security.

FG, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, urged the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to reject an application the detained leader of the group filed to enforce his fundamental right to freedom. 

It told the court that a criminal charge has been entered against the applicant, who is currently in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Bodejo was arrested on January 23 at Miyetti Allah’s office in Karu Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, shortly after he unveiled a vigilante group.

Following his arrest, the AGF, Fagbemi, SAN, on February 5, through an ex-parte motion, obtained an order that allowed the government to keep him in custody, pending the conclusion of investigation and his arraignment in court.

Based on the strength of the application and an affidavit that was attached to it, Justice Inyang Ekwo gave FG the nod to detain him for 15 days.

The court, on February 22, further extended the detention order, even as it gave FG seven days to file a charge against Bodejo.

Justice Ekwo directed that the detainee should be taken before a court of competent jurisdiction for arraignment.

When the matter came up on Wednesday, Bodejo’s lawyer, Mr. Mohammed Sheriff, notified the court that he had filed an application for the unconditional release of his client from the custody of the DIA.

“My lord, our application is dated February 26, and it is praying this honourable court to admit the applicant to bail, pending his arraignment before a competent court,” Sheriff submitted.

However, a lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Ms. Y.A. Imana, urged the court to refuse the bail application.

“We pray this court to dismiss the application of the defendant because this is a matter that touches on national security,” she pleaded.

Justice Ekwo subsequently adjourned the matter till March 22 to rule on the bail application. 

Meanwhile, in the one-count charge it filed before the court, FG accused the applicant of establishing an ethnic militia group without authorization. 

The charge read: “That you, Bello Bodejo, male, adult, on or before the 17th Day of January. 2024, at Lafia, Nassarawa State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, committed an offence to wit: you established an ethnic militia known as Kungiya Zaman Lafiya, without authorization, and thereby committed an act prejudicial to national security and public safety, and an offence punishable under Section of 29 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.”