Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court yesterday admitted six guns tendered as exhibits against alleged against Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume, and his co-defendants.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court admitted the six guns as exhibits B, B1 to B5, shortly after the prosecution tendered them through its fifth witness, one Inspector Samuel Abdullahi.
Abdullahi, led in evidence by the prosecution told the court that his team that investigated the issue involving Wadume and his codefendants retrieved the six guns from the kidnap kingpin.
The witness explained that, Wadume instructed the seventh defendant, Rayyanu Abdul, based in Ibi to move the guns, which belongs to him, to a safe place.
He added that when Wadume was told that some money would be needed for spiritual prayers over his matter, he then ordered that two of the rifles be sold to raise money for that purpose.
Testifying further, the witness disclosed that the fifth defendant, Bashir Waziri (aka Babaruns), was in the Sharon vehicle that the military used in chasing the police operatives, which they shot and summersaulted, killing three policemen and two civilians.
Abdullahi however informed the court that the six guns were retrieved from Bashir Waziri and Uba Bala, who were also defendants in the matter and kept in the custody of the exhibit keeper of the Nigeria Police.
Meanwhile, attempt to tender statements of the defendants made to the police were objected to by their counsel.
While counsel to the second and the sixth defendants objected to the admissibility of the statements on grounds that the statements of their client were obtained by inducement and torture and that the statements were written in English language while their clients made them in Hausa language, counsel to the 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 defendants said they will address the issue in their final address.
Wadume and his co-defendants are standing trial on a 13-count amended criminal charge bordering on terrorism, kidnapping and collection of N106 million ransom, among others.
Other defendants are: Police Inspector, Aliyu Dadje, Auwalu bala (aka omo razor); Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu); Bashir Wazlri (aka baba runs); 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, which Justice Nyako declined to grant.
Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, on August 6, 2019, by policemen from the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector General of the Police office.
He was arrested for a kidnap case in which he was said to have demanded N106 million as ransom.
The alleged kidnapper was being conveyed from Ibi to Jalingo, 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.
The prosecution has so far called five witnesses in its efforts to prove its allegations against the defendants.
The court adjourned till July 15, 2020 for continuation of trial.