30th September, 2011
The State Security Services (SSS) on Friday formally arraigned 6 suspected members of the deadly Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Â before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
The re arraingment came against the backdrop of an unsuccessful attempt made by the Service to arraign themÂ on Thursday, as the trial judge, Justice Bilkisu Aliyu had insisted that the accused persons must be served with copies of the charges preferred against them, to enable them understand and prepare adequately for their trial.
The suspected sect members who were arraigned amidst tight security are Shuaibu Abubakar, Salisu Ahmed, Umar Babagana Umar, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adam and Umar Ibrahim.
They are being charged with committing terrorist acts through the explosion of improvised devices variously at Suleja, Bwari and
Nasarawa state, an offence that is contrary to Section 15 (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Act 2004.
By virtue of Section 15 (2) of the EFCC Act, the accused persons are liable to life imprisonment on conviction.
When the 6- count charge signed by the Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mrs. O. O. Fatunde was read to them and interpreted in Hausa by the Clerk of the court, they pleaded not guilty.
At this point, prosecuting counsel, Thompson Olatigbe pleaded with the court for the suspects to be remanded in the custody of the SSS, drawing the courtâ€™s attention to the incident of jail-break in
Bauchi state, Â whereÂ 60 inmates were set free as well as the fragile security situation in the country.
He also informed the court that investigations into the matter have been concluded, even as the Prosecution has assembled 7 witnesses to prove the charge of terrorism preferred against the 6-accused persons, all of whom do not understand English.
In her ruling, Justice Aliyu held that because of the security fears raised by the prosecutor, the accused persons shall be remanded in the custody of the SSS, at least for now.
She however ordered that they must be allowed free access to their lawyers.
Trial is fixed for 20 and 21 October, 2011.
By Nnamdi Felix / Abuja