The Special Court created by the Federal High Court to try terrorism cases sitting Wawa detention facility in Kainji yesterday concluded the trial of about 301 suspects. Out the 301, a total of 205 suspects were convicted while 96 were discharged after trial for lack of evidence.
About 526 suspects were freed for various reasons ranging from want of evidence, under aged (minor) and persons suffering from mental illness. The security agency had arrested the suspects at different states and detained in Wawa Cantonment on suspicion they belong to the Boko Haram terrorist group.
At different stage, the Prosecuting Counsel had filed a motion ex-parte seeking the release of the said suspects for want of sufficient evidence.
The ex-parte was filed pursuant of section 35(4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). Modu Maina, a native of Bama LG, Borno State, was the only suspect discharged and acquitted by the Federal High Court Judge. He was arrested in Ketu, Lagos State, where he worked as a gateman.
Maina had confessed that he was forcefully initiated into the Boko Haram group but relocated to Lagos to avoid being arrested in Bama. He said that all the confessional statements he made to Joint Task Force (JTF) was under alleged torture.
The presiding judge, having reviewed the defendant’s written confessional statements, found him not guilty.
Also, about 205 detained suspects were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment based on count charge against them. Most of them were convicted for professing to belong to the terrorist group, concealing information about the group which they knew or believe to be of material assistance that could lead to the arrest, prosecution or conviction of Boko Haram members. Their jail term ranges from 3 to 60 years.
Most of the convicts said the fear of being killed could not allow them to report to the JTF or any security agencies coupled with the fact that most villages had been ravaged by the Boko Haram including the security posts.