5 armed robbery suspects escape from courtroom

Five of seven armed robbery suspects on Tuesday escaped from a Magistrates’ Court in Minna while waiting for the arrival of the magistrate for the court to begin business, witnesses have said. Eye witnesses told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the suspects escaped in a Honda Accord car, belonging to Tanimu Bako, the prosecutor.The witnesses said the suspects escaped after using cutlasses and a sickle, found in the courtroom, to batter the prosecutor into a state of unconsciousness.

A worker at the court told NAN that the suspects whispered to themselves before arming themselves with the exhibits in the courtroom and used them to scare court workers before attacking the prosecutor. The worker said the prosecutor had tried to lock the door of the courtroom when he was attacked, adding that he was taken to Minna General Hospital immediately as he was bleeding heavily. The Magistrate, Amina Musa, confirmed the incident to NAN.

“Thank God that I had not arrived, only God knows what they could have done to me,” she said. Ms. Musa said the remaining suspects have been handed over to the police and stressed that the prison officials brought the suspects to court without adequate security arrangements at the court. “There was no police or warder at the court when it happened,” she said. She said that the police later recovered Mr. Bako’s car without the suspects at Maurice area of Minna, where they hit another car while trying to escape from the police, who were chasing them. Also confirming the incident, the Police Public Relation Officer in Niger, Richard Oguche said the police has queried the prison authority.

“We were in a meeting this morning with our commissioner when the news filtered in.

‘We have written to the prison authority to explain why it should bring armed robbery suspects to court without adequate security arrangement.

“It is their responsibility to take care of suspects in their custody until they are granted bail by the court or served out their jail term,” Mr. Oguche said.

He said that the police is making efforts to re-arrest the fleeing suspects.

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