The army officer who allegedly masterminded the killing of policemen by some soldiers and others, and setting free a notorious kidnapper in Taraba State last year have been seemingly let off the hook, as their names were dropped from prosecution.
The kidnapper, Bala Hamisu, also known as Wadume, the soldiers and other accomplices in the matter are being prosecuted by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, on June 3, 2020, took over the case from the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu.
However, when the matter returned to court on Monday, June 8, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Shuaibu Labaran announced an amendment to the charges.
Labaran said the “bureaucracy” involved in bringing the soldiers to court was the reason the case was amended so that proceedings on the matter could begin.
In the amendment, it was discovered that the number of defendants reduced from 20 to seven and the number of counts dropped from 16 to 1
The names of the following soldiers were removed in the amended charges Captain Tijjani Balarabe, Staff Sgt. David Isaiah, Sgt. Ibrahim Mohammed, Corporal Bartholomew Obanye, Private Mohammed Nura, Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon, Corporal Markus Michael, L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra, Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu, and Private Ebele Emmanuel.
Names of a policeman, ASP Aondona Iorbee, and one Ahmad Suleiman (aka Dan Ball), were also struck off the charge.
The amendment was approved by Justice Binta Nyako, after the defence lawyers for the remaining defendants did not oppose the amendment.
Following the amendment, the amended 13 counts were read to the remaining seven defendants who pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
The remaining defendants arraigned were Inspector Aliyu Dadje, who was a station officer at police headquarters in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State, Wadume, Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor, Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); Hafizu Bala (aka Maiwelder); and Rayyanu Abdul.
Recall that the military authorities had refused to produce the 10 soldiers who allegedly killed the policemen for trial.in court, until their names were eventual dropped on Monday.
Some groups and Nigerians, including the Afenifere; lawyers and activists have continued to lampoon the AGF for dropping the names of the 10 soldiers, who were named as accomplices in the kidnapping charges.