Jos crisis: Court discharges, acquits 14 on terrorism charges

The prosecution could not prove its case convincingly, the judge ruled.

A Federal High Court in Jos on Wednesday discharged and acquitted 14 persons who were standing trial for allegedly participating in the Jan. 20, 2010 crisis in Jos.

Those discharged and acquitted are Sadillu Mohammed, Isa Mohammed, Maniru Shaibu, Aliyu Umar, Abubakar Hussaini, Hamisu Useni, Ibrahim Yusuf, and Fausai Abdullahi.

Others are Sani Hudu, Adamu Idris, Isah Shehu, Abdul Rasheed, Buhari Usman, and Ibrahim Aminu.

They were charged with three counts of conspiracy, mischief by fire and terrorism, all of which they pleaded not guilty.

The prosecution counsel, D. C. Enwelem, had told the court that the acquitted persons were arrested by a team of security personnel on patrol on the day. He said they set ablaze some houses and cars at Angwan Miango New Layout in Jos at the time of their arrest.

Mr. Enwelem had said that a lighter was found on each of them on arrest while four cars were already on fire.

But the defence counsel, Badamasi Adam, had challenged the prosecution to prove the allegations.

He said the accused persons were arrested in front of their houses while lamenting their burnt houses by unknown arsonists.

Delivering judgment, the trial Judge, Bilkisu Aliyu, said the prosecution failed to prove any of the charges against them.

Mrs. Aliyu said that none of the accused persons mentioned any vehicle in all their statements recorded by the police. The judge said they only referred to their houses which were burnt along the street where they were arrested.

“It was not stated how they conspired or what acts of terrorism the accused persons committed.

“I hold that the prosecution has not proved any of the three counts of the offences that the accused persons are charged with or any other offence. Consequently all the accused persons are hereby discharged and acquitted,” she declared.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria shortly after the case, Mr. Adam expressed satisfaction with the judgment.

He said the case was thoroughly handled by the judge, whom he commended for a job well done.

Mr. Adam described the judgment as “a victory to the judiciary and the rule of law.”


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