Senate wants speedy trial for Zakari Biu over Kabiru Sokoto

Zakari Biu

The Senate has asked for the swift trial of Assistant Police Commissioner, Zakari Biu, under whose watch the recently re-arrested Kabiru Sokoto made his escape. Mr. Sokoto, who escaped police custody on January 15 but was rearrested almost one month later, has been accused of masterminding the Madalla Christmas day bombings.

The Senate on Tuesday however discarded much of what some members criticized as shoddy recommendations on the escape of Boko Haram suspect, Mr. Sokoto.

Mr. Sokoto, recaptured in Taraba state by security agents, has long been brought back to Abuja and is being held at a heavily guarded secret location, sources have said.

His dramatic escape from police custody during a search operations at his home in January, began the process that has ended the career of former Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, and prompted multiple government inquiry.

A 10-member senate committee mandated on January 19, 2012 to investigate Mr. Sokoto’s escape, tabled a seven-point recommendations yesterday, and five were rejected by the senate.

With Mr. Sokoto’s re-arrest, and the start of Mr. Biu’s prosecution by the police, much of the senate’s work appeared behind events. Still, senators criticized the Paulinus Igwe’s committee’s report as being incomprehensive and not establishing sufficient facts and the circumstances of the escape.

“How can we have 58 officers arrest the suspect and only five follow him to search his house? We don’t have enough information why,” said Joshua Jidani, Gombe South.

The committee recommended amendments to terrorism laws, the constitution of special anti-terrorism court, joint border patrols and a legislative backing for the office of the coordinator on counter-terrorism under the National Security Adviser’s office.

The senate turned them down, but called for the speedy prosecution of Mr. Biu and urged the Nigerian public to provide information to the security agencies, a regular of the lawmakers probe recommendations.

The report however shed light into what seems the police’s first official response to the controversy over how Mr. Biu found his way back into the force after about 10 years ouster.

Mr. Biu had been left out of the police force in 2000 after former President Olusegun Obasanjo allegedly ordered his removal. Mr. Obasanjo reportedly said “he did not want him in the force,” the senate committee said in the report.

The chairman of the police service commission, Parry Osayande, told the senate committee that Mr. Biu was recalled since he had never been issued a query or suspended before 2000.

The report also gave insight into the fruitless runs of the police in attempt to recapture Mr. Sokoto.

Several detectives were led, at times, misled by informants to many villages between Abuja, Nasarawa and Kogi states where the suspect was thought to be sheltered.


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