Terrorism: Court admits accused statement


Nnamdi Felix / Abuja

Following a short trial within trial at the ongoing trial of Mr. Kabiru Umar, also known as Kabiru Sokoto, the alleged mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger state in 2011, a federal high court siting in Abuja on Friday admitted the written statement of the suspected terrorist in evidence.

Kabiru Sokoto’s lawyer, Mr. Ibrahim Aliyu had fought against the admission of the statement into evidence in the grounds that it was secured under duress and ought to be discarded by the court.

The prosecution, Ms. Chioma Onuegwu had insisted that the suspected terrorist was put on caution during his interrogation when he was first arrested in Abuja and that he willingly volunteered his statement and therefore sees no reason why the court should discard such material evidence.

A startling revelation was made by one of the prosecution witnesses last Thursday when it was said that Kabiru who had led the court to believe that he does not understand English, had written his statement in clear and precise english.

This led to the court excusing the court’s interpreter who had been interpreting proceedings to the accused person.

In his ruling over the admissibility of Kabiru’s statement, the trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, held that the court will admit the accused statement in evidence due to the relevance of the statement to the trial but however noted that the weight of the evidence will be determined at the point of the court’s judgment.

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The second prosecution witness whose name was given Mr. ABC for security purposes told the court that in the course of interrogating Kabiru Sokoto, that he stated that he didn’t participate personally in the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, but that he knows about it as well as those who took part in the suicide bombing act but never reported the plot to security operatives.

According to the witness, Kabiru told his interrogators that those who perpetrated the terrorist act on St Theresa’s Catholic church, did so with his knowledge.

The witness also reiterated what an earlier witness, Mr. XYZ, told the court last Thursday, to the effect that Kabiru had told his interrogators that members of the Boko Haram sect targeted christians and christian businesses which they robbed to fund the sect’s activities.

Efforts by Mr. Kabiru’s lawyer to discredit the witness on this score were unsuccessful as the court called on the lawyer to concentrate on the terrorism matter at hand as the issue of robbery was not part of the charge for which the accused is standing trial.

In the course of proceedings, Kabiru’s lawyer requested that the court’s interpreter be recalled to resume interpretation to the accused to enable him have the full benefit of following proceedings of his trial and the court obliged him.

Trial resumes Monday.

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