A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday threatened to grant bail to three suspected members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect due to lack of diligent prosecution by the federal government.
The trial judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole handed down the warning yesterday when the Chief State Prosecution Counsel, Mrs. Jones Nebo filed an application for an adjournment to enable her apply for a modification of the partial secret trial of the suspects as well as respond to the counter affidavit filed by the accused persons’ counsels.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, counsel to the 1st accused person, Mr. Hassan Liman (SAN) drew the court’s attention to the deliberate attempts being made by the prosecution counsel to frustrate accelerated hearing of the trial.
He said: “A further application for adjournment today will further delay the accelerated hearing. It is obvious that the prosecution is not interested in pushing this case forward”.
Mr. Liman urged the court to bend backwards and review its earlier order of March 7, 2014, which the court refused the accused persons bail, and admit the 1st accused person to bail on the condition that the accused persons would present themselves in court for trial.
“We urged the court to refuse the prosecution’s application for adjournment and review the bail application of the accused persons pending when the prosecution is ready to continue with the matter.
Responding to the application, counsels to the 2nd and 3rd accused persons, Chief James Ocholi (SAN) and Abdul Mohammed respectively adopted all the submissions made by Mr. Liman (SAN).
Chief Ocholi said: “I urge the court to hold that the excuse by the prosecution is most untenable. I want to adopt in totality the submissions made by the 1st accused person’s counsel”.
Jones-Nebo disabused the impression made by the accused persons’ counsels on lack of diligent handling of the matter.
Ruling on the various arguments, Justice Kolawole said acceding to the defense counsels’ request would be unjudicial owing to the reason advanced by the prosecution.
He however ordered Mrs. Jones Nebo to file all the necessary processes within seven days, failure which would attract severe action from the court.
The three accused persons; Dr. Mohammed Yunus, Musa Umar and Salami Abdullahi, were arraigned on an eight count charge of terrorism.
The matter was adjourned to May 14 for argument on the motion on notice, while June 9, 10, 24,25 and 26 are for accelerated hearing and trial to commence at 11:30 am daily.
Justice Kolawole remanded the accused persons in prison custody and to be produced in court at the adjourned date.
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