1st August, 2011
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused an application for bail brought by one of the accused persons standing trial over the death of the leader of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf.
Sergeant Adamu Gado, who is the only one out of the five suspects standing trial over the matter to be granted bail, had prayed the court to admit him to bail, as that will enable him prepare for trial, even as he insisted that the law presumes him innocent until the contrary is proved.
In a ruling on Monday which lasted barely thirty minutes, the trial judge, Justice Donatus Okorowo held that although Section 118 of the Criminal Procedure Act, CPA, confers the court with the discretion to grant bail, such discretion must be exercised in accordance with the basic principles of law saying, â€œthe discretion to grant bail must be done judicially and judiciously.â€
While refusing the bail application, Justice Okorowo held that, he was persuaded by the material evidence brought by the prosecution, particularly where the applicant, Sergeant Gado, had admitted in his statement to the police that, he actually shot at the late sect leader.
The judge said the fact that the accused admitted that he actually joined others to shoot at Mohammed Yusuf, as contained in exhibit before the court, that it was an admittance that he committed the crime, hence the court cannot on that strength grant him bail, even as he further agreed with the prosecution that the accused person had been on the run since he was granted administrative bail.
Accordingly, the judge said, â€œhaving listened to the submissions of both parties, Iâ€™m convinced that the interest of justice is better served in refusing the application than granting it. I therefore refuse the application for bail.â€
The judge chided the prosecution for being â€œeconomical with factsâ€, since the same exhibits it used to convince the court to deny the sergeant bail, were kept away from the court when the bail applications for the other four accused persons were argued.
This position fuels speculation that the police authority may have decided to make the junior officer to take the rap for the gruesome murder of the sect leader while the senior officers will walk home free.
Sgt. Gado, J. B Abang and Akeera Dogara (Assistant Commissioners of Police), Mohammed Ahmadu (Chief Superintendent of Police) and Mada Buba (Assistant Superintendent of Police), are currently facing trial for unlawfully killing Mohammed Yusuf in 2009, an offence contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, LFN, 2004 and punishable under Section 15 (1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Act, 2004.
The trial of the suspects was subsequently fixed for 24 and 25 October, 2011.
â€”Nnamdi Felix / Abuja