Court Fixes Judgment Day For Taraba Kidnap Kingpin, Wadume, Others

Bala Hamisu, popularly known as Wadume (Suspect)

Barring any last-minute change, the Federal High Court in Abuja will on June 10 deliver judgment in the case of suspected Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu, popularly known as Wadume and others charged with conspiracy and kidnapping.

SaharaReporters was told that the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, fixed the date after counsel to the suspects had adopted his final address and submitted that there was no direct evidence linking his client to all the allegations.

“Wadume, the kidnap kingpin would be going for judgement on 10th of June,” one of the officials informed SaharaReporters.

The police had on February 3, 2020, originally filed 16 counts of terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against Wadume and the others.

They were accused of conspiring to commit felony, to wit: “acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

They were also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act 2004.

Count one of the charge read, “That you, Alhaji Hamisu Bala, 33, aka Wadume; Capt Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe; ASP Aondona Iorbee; Insp Aliyu Dadje; Auwalu Bala; Uba Bala; Ahmad Suleiman; Bashir Waziri; Zubairu Abdullahi; Rayyanu Abdul and others now at large between February and April 2019 at Takum and Ibi, Taraba State, within the jurisdiction of this court, while acting in concert, conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”

They allegedly demanded a N200million ransom and killed the victim despite receiving N106.3m.

“DCP Abba Kyari, CSP Baba Khali, ASP Abdulrahman Mohammed, ASP Bawa James, Insps Habila Samuel and Ilarju Joseph are the investigating police officers in this case; they will testify about their findings in the course of the investigation and will tender exhibits and documents,” the police stated.

Listed as exhibits in the case were the written statements of the defendants, photographs of the victims, autopsy reports, six AK-47 rifles recovered from the gang, three empty shells, one live ammunition and six Volkswagen Sharon buses, and one (police) Toyota Hiace bus, among others.

Some soldiers led by Tijjani Balarabe, a captain, were also named in the charges filed by the police.

But Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on June 3, 2020, took over the case from the police and removed the soldiers’ names from the charges.

The action of Malami was widely condemned as taken against public interest.

Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, by members of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police on August 6, 2019 before soldiers led Balarabe aided his escape from the custody of the policemen ferrying him to Abuja.

Three policemen and two civilians were killed during the incident, while five other police officers were injured.

One of the policemen killed in the incident was Felix Adolije, an Assistant Superintendent, who was described as one of the best among the team known for handling special crime cases across the country.