…Freed convicts rise to 526
The number of Boko Haram suspects in Kainji detention facility who regained their freedom rose from 475 to 526 as the Federal High Court sitting in Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger state wounded up last Friday, reports Comrade Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Among the reasons for setting the 526 suspects free are want of evidence, under aged (minor) and persons suffering from mental illness.
The suspects were arrested at different states and detained in Wawa Cantonment on suspicion they belong to the Boko Haram terrorist group.
However, they were discharged by the court based on motion exparte filed by the Federal Government prosecuting counsels for want of sufficient evidence pursuance of section 35(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Modu Maina, a native of Bama LG, Borno State was the only suspect discharged and acquitted by the Federal High Court Judge.
He was arrested in Ketu, Lagos State where he worked as a gateman.
Maina confessed that he was forcefully initiated into the Boko Haram group but relocated to Lagos to avoid being arrested in Bama.
He said that all the confessional statements he made to Joint Task Force (JTF) was under alleged torture.
The presiding judge, having reviewed the defendant’s written confessional statements, found him not guilty.
Also, about 205 detained suspects were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment based on count charge against them.
Most of them were convicted for professing to belong to the terrorist group, concealing information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance that could lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of Boko Haram members.
Their jail term ranges from 3 to 60 years.
Most of the convicts said the fear of being killed could not allow them to report to the JTF or any security agencies coupled with the fact that most villages had been ravaged by the Boko Haram including the security posts.
They insisted that it was difficult and a dangerous venture for them to travel a long distance to log their report.
Alhaji Bukar Jindi sentenced to 16 years and 50 years on two count charge for professing to be a member of Boko Haram and for carrying out several attacks leading to loss of lives and properties.
The unremorseful and unrepentant suspect vowed to go back to crime if he is released.
He was arrested in 2015 at the age of 17 years. He will have to spend 50 years in prison with effect from the date of his arrest.
Find below the summary of cases:
S/NO DESCRIPTION NO.
1. Number of cases tried 301
2. Number of suspects convicted 205
3. Number of suspects discharged for want of evidence, under aged and persons suffering from mental illness 526
4. Number of cases adjourned for continuation of hearing 73
This second and concluding phase in Kainji was adjudged transparent and fair as some governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the National Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Council, Nigerian Bar Association, et.al as well as the media witnessed the proceedings.