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Terrorism: Court Jails Three, 75 Years

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday convicted the trio of Ali Mohammed, Adamu Karumi and Ibrahim Usman of participation in acts of terrorism and of being members of a proscribed organisation, the Boko Haram sect.
Justice Ibrahim Buba who pronounced them guilty of the offence subsequently sentenced the trio to a prison term of 75 years to be shared equally.
Mohammed, Karumi and Usman were among the 17 suspected Boko Haram members arraigned before Buba on an 8-count of conspiracy to commit terrorism, illegal possession of firearms, and of being members of a proscribed organisation.
Arraigned along with them were Bala Haruna, Idris Ali, Mohammed Murtala and Kadiri Mohammed.
Others were named as Mustapha Daura, Abba Duguri, Sanni Adamu, Danjuma Yahaya and Musa Audu and Mati Daura, Farouk Haruna, Abdullahi Azeez, Ibrahim Bukar and Zula Diani.
Though the 17 men had all pleaded not guilty to the offence, only Mohammed, Karumi, Usman and the fourth defendant, Haruna had stood through the entire trial length.
It was gathered that the Attorney General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Ade Ipaye had, by nolle prosequi, discontinued criminal proceedings against the fifth to seventeenth accused persons and they had consequently been since discharged.
On Tuesday only Muhammed, Karumi, Usman and Haruna were brought before Buba for judgement.
Though the judgement was delivered in camera, a source who witnessed the proceeding later gave journalists the facts of the judgement on condition of anonymity.
Before delivering the judgement, the trial judge, Buba had ordered journalists, litigants and lawyers in other matters to vacate the courtroom.
The judge who had earlier announced that the judgement would be given at 12pm first sought the views of the lawyers if it was within the law to give the judgement in the open court before the public.
The Director of the Public Prosecution, Mrs. Idowu Alakija had responded by saying that since the trial was conducted in camera for security reasons, judgement should also be given in the same manner.
But Buba who said that even judges learn everyday insisted that he would like to know what the law stipulates about giving judgement in camera and how his colleagues in Abuja normally handle the case.
While saying he would like to do a short research on the subject, Buba rose at about 11.30am with a promise to return by 12pm.
At the resumed hearing at 12pm, the judge again asked the parties to address him on the legality of giving judgement in Camera.
Ipaye responded by saying that if the trial was conducted in secret, the judgement should also be delivered in secret as the judgement is viewed as an inherent part of the proceeding.
The legal team of the defence maintained the same position.
Buba subsequently ordered everyone except the parties and the security operatives to vacate the courtroom to allow him give his judgement.
In a bid to cover the proceeding, journalists had approached the Deputy Chief Registrar and the Administrative Head of the Court, Mr. Bello Okandeji to complain.
Okandeji then led journalists to the court but the security men at the door to the courtroom told the DCR that they had specific instructions not to allow anyone into the courtroom at the moment
But at the end of the judgement, the said source had spoken with journalists.
It was learnt through the source that the fourth accused person, Haruna, who was alleged of conspiracy and funding of an attempted escape of the first defendant was acquitted and discharged as Buba held that the prosecution did not substantiate the allegation.
Mohammed, Karumi and Usman were tried on offences bordering on terrorism said to have been committed on March 21, at Plot 5, Road 69, Lekki Phase I Housing Estate, and No. 24, Oyegbeni St., Ijora-Oloye, Apapa-Iganmu, Lagos.
They were said to have been caught in possession of three packets of explosive construction pipes, 15 detonators, and 11 AK47 rifles with 30 rounds of live ammunition.
The other items said to have been found in their possession include 200 rounds of 7.6 millimetres of live ammunition, two suitcases containing explosives, and a water container filled with explosives.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 13(2) and 17(b) of the Terrorism Act 2013 as well as Sections 1, 8, 27 (1) (a) and (b) of the Firearms (special provisions) Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

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Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity

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Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.

The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).

Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.

It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.

Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.

Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.

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Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments

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President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.

The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.

According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.

He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.

Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.

The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.

He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.

On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.

He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.

“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.

“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.

“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.

”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.

“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.

“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.

On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.

On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.

According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.

The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”

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Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari

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Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.

The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.

Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.

He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.

He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.

“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.

“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.

“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”

He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.

This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.

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