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Wadume Trial stalled as Army Failed To Provide Indicted Captain, Others

The trial of suspected kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala wadume has been stalled as the military authorities failed to provide in court, Captain Tijani Balarabe, who allegedly ordered the shooting of the men of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team in Taraba State when Wadume was first arrested.

The Nigerian Police had slammed a sixteen count charge on Hamisu Wadume, Captain Balarabe, and eighteen others, precisely on the 6th of February 2020.

The Police Force charged Wadume and other suspects on counts bothering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running.

Owing to controversies that led to the arrest, escape and re-arrest of the Wadume in August 2019, it took about 5 months before the charges were filed in court due to the war of words between the Army and the Police.

However, the case could not be heard as the Army failed to provide Captain Tijani and other suspects who were indicted for aiding Wadume’s initial escape and subsequent killing of two IRT members.

Explaining why the trial was stalled, counsel to the prosecutor, Simon Lough told newsmen that the Army was yet to release the indicted Army Captain and other personnel indicted in the incident.

“We brought those accused persons who are in the police custody but the
arraignment could not take place because the Army authorities have not released
those army officers involved for the arraignment.

“That is why we made the application and the court has directed that they be released to us or be brought to court on the 30th of this month for the purpose of the arraignment. So we hope that the Army organization, as we know is a law-abiding organization, so we believe that they will do well by releasing them to us or producing them in court so the
arraignment will take place and we move on. We are not fighting each other anyway, we are all partners in progress trying to ensure that we have a crime-free society.”

Army versus Police

The face-off between the police and the Army started after the arrest of the kidnap kingpin Wadume by the IGP’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT). The policemen were attacked by soldiers of 93 Battalion, shown in a viral video that horrified the nation. Captain Tijani Balarabe allegedly ordered the shooting of the officers who released Wadume to escape.

On the death of the officers, Wadume who was at large fueled the allegations and counter-allegations between the security agencies of which the defence headquarters was forced to weigh in on the matter with a panel of inquiry set up to investigate the matter.

Persons Linked To the Taraba’s Saga

On the list of defendants is Staff Sergeant. David Isaiah, Sergent. Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, Private Mohammed Nura, Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon, Corporal Markus Michael, Lance Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra, Staff Sergent. Abdullahi Adamu, Private Ebele Emmanuel, ASP Aondona Iorbee Insp. Aliyu Dadje, Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor.

Others in the charge sheet are Uba Bala aka Uba, Belu Ahmad Suleiman, Dan Ball Bashir Waziri, aka Baba runs, Zubairu Abdullahi Basho, Hafizu Bala aka Maiwelder and Rayyanu Abdul. The Police, in the suit against the defendants, said they “conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

The defendants were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The Search for Wadume

The police began a manhunt for Wadume in March 2019 when a petition was submitted by one Sheriff Umar who resided in Kaduna State. The petitioner said his relative Usman Mayo was kidnapped in February 2019 at Takum Taraba by Wadume.

The sum of Two Hundred Million Naira was allegedly demanded the release of the victim. However, One Hundred Million Naira was paid. But that did not secure the release Sheriff Umar’s relative, as Wadume and his cohort were hell-bent on getting the Two Hundred Million Naira.

According to the police, the prosecution would rely on the testimonies of twenty-nine eyewitnesses, some of whom would testify on how a victim by name Usman Garba was kidnapped on February 16, 2019, at Takum by Wadume and his gang and was eventually killed.