*Orders their remand at Kuje Correctional Centre
By Alex Enumah
Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Wednesday denied Taraba kidnap kingpin, Mr Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume, and his co-defendants bail in the terrorism and kidnapping charges brought against them by the federal government.
Justice Nyako denied the applicants bail while delivering ruling in their bail application because she “saw no reason to grant them bail” having given their trial accelerated hearing.
Wadume and his co-defendants are standing trial on a 13-count amended criminal charge bordering on terrorism, kidnapping, continual to detain and collection of a ransom of N106 million among others.
Other defendants are Police Inspector Aliyu Dadje, Mr Auwalu bala (aka Omo Razor), Mr Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu), Mr Bashir Wazlri (aka Baba runs), Mr Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho) and Rayyanu Abdul.
They pleaded not guilty to all the charges read to them and their lawyers accordingly moved their bail applications.
Justice Nyako however declined to grant the request of the applicants in her ruling delivered on Wednesday.
The judge however ordered that the defendants be moved from the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja.
She also ordered that the authorities of the Correctional Centre in Kuje allow the defendants access to medical facility and their lawyers while in their custody.
Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, on August 6, 2019, by policemen from the Intelligence Response Team of the Office of the Inspector General of Police (IG).
He was arrested for a kidnap case in which he was said to have demanded N106 million as ransom and as he was being conveyed from Ibi to Abuja, when some soldiers, led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe shot at them, killing three of the policemen to free Wadume from custody.
Wadume was later rearrested for interrogation before he was charged along with six others early in June 2020.
The soldiers who were initially charged along with Wadume had their names removed from the charge sheet as defendants by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, which took over the prosecution of the matter from the police.
Earlier in the proceedings Wednesday, the first prosecution witness, Mr Felix Adolije, who was led in evidence on Monday, was cross examined by the counsel to the defendants.
The prosecution also called additional two witnesses, who told the court of the role they played in Wadume’s escape from custody.
The matter has been adjourned till July 7, 2020 for continuation of trial.