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A Federal High Court in Abuja Friday ordered the Federal Government to close its case against the four alleged masterminds of the August 20, 2011 suicide bombing of the United Nation’s building in Abuja.
The four accused persons, Salisu Mohammed, Inusa Mukailu, Dan’azumi Haruna and Abdulsalami Adamu, all based in Kano at the time of their arrest, are standing trial on a four-count charge of acts that border on terrorism.
Consequently, the prosecution counsel, who begged that her name should not be mentioned in print, was left with no option than to reluctantly close her case against the suspects, who had been in detention since 2011.
“The court has made an order, I hereby close my case against the accused persons,” the prosecuting counsel said.
In her ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Gladys Olotu, observed that the suspects were arraigned on May 7, 2013 and that the prosecution counsel applied for accelerated hearing of the matter.
On June 11, the scheduled commencement of trial of the four accused persons was stalled due to the inability of the prosecution counsel to provide all the needed material evidences to prosecute the case.
The court stated: “Though, the prosecution counsel was able to bring one witness, Mr. Ibrahim Agu, however she told the court that the other witness, CSP Augustine Pam, being expected would come from Jos.
“After series of attempts to prosecute the four suspects had failed, the court had to adjourn the matter to October 10 and 11, 2013 for the prosecuting counsel to call up the 2nd witness but to no avail.
“At the last adjourned date of November 20, the prosecuting counsel told the court that the witness was seriously ill and could not climb the staircase of the Federal High Court. As a result of that, the court granted an adjournment to yesterday for the witness to appear in court."
The court observed with dismay that the prosecutor came to court and could not produce the witness “in spite of the comfort and patience of the court to grant an adjournment even when there was no substantial evidence to show that the witness was ill.”
Justice Olotu added that the first prosecution witness had concluded his evidence and for the proposed second witness to commence his testimony in court, “the prosecution counsel has come up with her stories in spite of the fact that there was unsubstantiated medical report to show that the witness was incapacitated.”
“He was ill, but travelled all the way from Jos to Abuja and could not climb the staircase on November 20. The matter was adjourned to today; he failed to appear in court but was able to travel back to Jos.
“The court cannot continue to take these stories from the prosecution any longer; I therefore make an order that the prosecution should close her case against the suspects.”
In view of this development, the defence counsel, Ken Obiduruzo applied for a short date to enable him tender his application for a no-case-submission on behalf of the accused persons.
Subsequently, the court gave the defence counsel 21 days to file his no-case-submission, 21 days to the prosecution to reply and 7 days to the defence counsel to reply on points of law.
The matter was adjourned to January 22, 2014 for adoption of the defence counsel’s no-case-submission.
Analysts are worried about developments in the court yesterday because this case is of interest to the international community; more so, the United Nations insists that Nigeria must bring to justice the perpetrators of the heinous crime. For many, it appears the case against the suspected bombers of the UN building has been mismanaged.