The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has revealed that soldiers involved in the case of Taraba kingpin, Bala Hamish, aka Wadume, were still being held by the Nigerian military.
This was contained in a statement Friday night by his spokesman, Umar Gwandu.
Malami spoke in reaction to speculations that names of indicted soldiers in the case have been dropped.
He explained his office severed the charges “in view of the unavailability of the soldiers who in their own case need to be released by the military authorities in view of the fact that they were perhaps undergoing military processes before their release.”
Malami said the interest of justice requires and allows for segmenting the case in the interest of speedy trail.
The AGF noted that it is in the interest of justice “to accord speedy trial to the accused persons that are readily available to stand trial as against delaying at the expense of other co-accused persons who in the peculiarity of this case are not available for immediate arraignment”.
The minister added that it is a common practice that absence of a co-accused will not constitute impediment to the progress of a case.
Those available, Malami explained, are entitled to fair trial and have their case determined within a reasonable time as a matter of Constitutional rights.
“More so, looking at the facts that the available, accused persons are not to be held responsible for the unavailability of the co-accused persons.”
The statement assured that the Ministry of Justice has taken steps “to procure the availability of the co-accused and shall have them arraigned immediately upon procuring their availability by the military authorities.”
In October 2019, the Nigerian military released the probe report on the alleged killing of policemen by soldiers.
The Intelligence Response Team (IRT) officers were transporting Wadume when soldiers allegedly opened fire on them and went away with the kidnap leader.