The Special Court created by the Federal High Court for the trial of terrorism cases sitting at Wawa Cantonment, on Friday, freed a nursing mother, Mariam Mohammed, who is having a three-month-old baby, and 474 other Boko Haram suspects over lack of evidence of their involvement in terrorism act.
The court, however, ordered that the suspects be sent to their various state governments for proper rehabilitation. The suspects were arrested at different states and detained at Wawa Cantonment, Kainji, Niger State. They were alleged to have belonged to the Boko Haram terrorist sect and at the same time concealed information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance in preventing the commission of act of terrorism or securing apprehension, prosecution or conviction of members of Boko Haram sect.
At the resumed trial on Friday, prosecution counsel could not charge them for any offence due to lack of sufficient evidence against them. Therefore, the suspects were released through a motion ex-parte pursuant to Section 35 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). The court also directed states to rehabilitate the freed persons at any appropriate centre before being released to their families. Those suspects who are mentally deranged or challenged with their health are to be provided medical attention at any appropriate medical or other mental health facilities.
The states were also to provide appropriate training in the manner and for the period that the state deemed appropriate and reasonable. Among the list of the persons released was a female suspect, Lubabatu Yakubu, who was arrested in 2014 by the officials of the Department of Security Services (DSS) in Numan town, Adamawa State, two days after marriage and divorced by her Boko Haram husband. Lubabatu was accused of her affiliation with her Boko Haram husband. Another suspect, a young mother cuddling her three-month-old baby, Mariam Mohammed, a Shua Arab from Borno State was also released.
She was said to have been lured into the Boko Haram sect and taken to Sambisa forest by her elder brother and married her off to his friend at 11 years old. She was arrested by soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in 2014 while trying to escape the Boko Haram enclave in the Sambisa Forest. Taye Hamza and Kehinde Hamza are both identical twins from Oyo State based in Bauchi State.
They were amongst the lucky ones released. The twins, who are mechanic by profession, were arrested in 2010 by the DSS at their workshop in Bauchi State for servicing a vehicle belonging to a dreaded Boko Haram member. Meanwhile, a 35-yearold, Haruna Yahaya, who was earlier sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for participating in the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno State on Monday, was on Friday handed down an additional 15 years jail term.
On Friday, the court sentenced him to additional 15 years imprisonment for being a mastermind of the said abduction. The presiding judge ordered that the Monday’s and Friday’s sentences imposed on Yahaya, who hails from Potiskum in Yobe State, would run concurrently. With the latest development, the convict will spend 30 years in prison.