The prosecution in the trial of alleged kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume) and six others tendered on Monday before a Federal High Court in Abuja six guns said to have been recovered from Hamisu by police officials.
The guns, made up of AK 47 rifles and a pump-action, were tendered through a prosecution witness, Samuel Habila, an Inspector of Police.
Justice Binta Nyako admitted the guns in evidence and marked them as Exhibits B, B1 – B5.
Lawyers to the defendants, Ishaka Dikko, SAN, M. I Toga, Y. Dandana, Amanze Amanze, Abass Ajiya and Lukman Fagbemi, did not object to the court admitting the guns in evidence.
Led in evidence by prosecution lawyer, Mrs. Yetunde Adeola-Cole, Habila, who said he is a member of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), told the court that Hamisu confessed, during interrogation, to the effect that he bought nine guns from one Babangida Musa and later sold four to people he gave their names as Danmaza and Halilu.
The witness said all the guns were registered as CPR165, except one, adding, “there is a white paint written on one, while one is damaged”, the witness added.
The witness gave details about how Hamisu was tracked and arrested in Kano after some soldiers assisted him to escape.
When asked if he recognised the defendants, the witness said: “I recognize seven of the defendants. I am in court this morning to narrate my findings regarding the case I investigated, involving the seven of them.
“On August 6, 2019, some of our operatives travelled to Ibi, Taraba State on investigation activities. To arrest a kidnap kingpin, who was later identified as Hamisu Bala Wadume.
“After a successful arrest, on their way back to base, they were attacked by soldiers. The soldiers shot at the moving vehicle of the operatives.
“As a result, the vehicle somersaulted into the nearby bush, killing three of the operatives and two civilians.
“The operatives’ arms were carted away. As such, I and my team were asked to investigate the matter in order to unravel the mystery behind the attack and carting away of our arms.
“We commenced investigation, and intelligence led to the arrest of Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), who is the 3rd defendant, who was based in Lagos, but came to Abuja to see how he could assist his brother – Hamisu Bala Wadume – who was on the run.
“He was interviewed, during which he told us that Hamisu Bala is his younger brother and that he came from Lagos after he was told of what happened.
“He said while he was in Lagos his wife told him that operatives have arrested his younger brother and that while on their way the military attacked and Hamisu escaped.
“As such he got to Abuja to see how he could assist in the case. I asked him the whereabouts of his brother, Hamisu Bala and he told me his uncle, Rayyanu (7th defendant) who is based in Kano, knew his whereabouts.
“We then tracked Rayanu down to Kano. During investigation, Auwalu told us that his wife, who went for a celebration in Ibi, called to notify him of the attack and escape of Hamisu Bala.
“He told us that the only way we could get Hamisu was through his uncle in Kano. We then went to Kano where we arrested Riyyanu. When we arrested Riyyanu, he took us to where we arrested Hamisu Bala.
“Riyyanu confirmed to us that the son of his sister, Hamisu Bala, came to his house. That he received phone call from Hamisu that he was at the park and he should come and pick him.
“That was how he took his motorcycle to go and pick him from the park. He said Hamisu Bala told him that he had wounds on his leg and his private part, for which he called a doctor that started treating him.
“He said that after the treatment, the doctor told him that the wound between his legs is bullet wound, and he never reported to anybody.
“Also, when we were in Abuja during the interview, Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), told us that, while he was in Lagos, Hamisu Bala called him on phone that he has six AK 47 rifles kept in his house.
“Hamisu told him to call his elder brother based in Ibi to remove the rifles and keep them in a safe place, which Auwalu Bala did.
“He said that after some time, Uba Bala called Auwalu Bala on phone and told him that he needed money for spiritual prayer over the case involving Hamisu Bala.
“Auwalu in turn called Hamisu to notify him of the request from their elder brother. Hamisu then told Uba Bala to remove two of the guns and give it to the 6th defendant, aka Bashir, so that he can give them money for the spiritual prayer.”
The witness added that police operatives later stormed Ibi where Uba Bala was arrested and four AK 47 found.
Habila said: “Bashir was also arrested, during which the two guns he bought from Uba Bala were recovered.
“The two sets of Rifles were hidden in his late mother’s house and the other in the ceiling, where brought to Abuja for investigation.
“During investigation, it was discovered that the day police officers arrested Hamisu at Ibi, it was Baba Runs (the 5th defendant) that alerted the soldiers, brought a Sharon vehicle and chased the police officers.
“It was the same Baba Runs that accompanied the soldiers that opened fire on the moving vehicle of the operatives. He was with them. As such, they were the first set of people to be at the scene of the accident.
“Baba Runs told me that while the soldiers were having confrontation with the operatives, he stole one gun and ran away with it.
“Where he was hiding, the leader of the soldiers, Captain Balarabe, called him on phone to bring the gun he stole from the police vehicle.
“Baba Runs said he told Capt. Balarabe that the gun did not belong to him, but to the policemen that had the accident. And that he told Capt. Balarabe that he would not give him the gun”.
Habila said the gun was later handed to Capt. Baralabe, after Baba Runs was persuaded by his friend, Suleiman Danball, to return it.
The witness further told the court that the second defendant, Inspector Dadje, who was the Stationed Officer at Ibi Police Station, was the one that registered the police officers that came to arrest Wadume.
“Inspector Dadje told me that Capt. Balarabe threatened to kill him, so he tore the register that documented the arrival of the officers.
“After the seven defendants were interviewed, they all made statements. I recorded the statements of all defendants except one that was recorded by one of my colleagues, Inspector Joseph, and Inspector Dadje recorded another by himself.
“In the case of the 1st defendant (Hamisu) , one of my colleagues, ASP Bawal, also recorded his statement.”
At the point of tendering the defendants’ statements by the prosecution lawyer, lawyers to the defendants raised different grounds of objection.
Lawyers to the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th defendants – Ishaku Dikko (SAN), Y.D. Dangana, Amanzi Amanzi and Lukmon Fagbemi objected on the grounds that the Hausa version of the defendants’ statements, which were allegedly translated into English, were not before the court.
The defence lawyers later promised to address the court on the issue at the stage of their final addresses.
Lawyer to the 2nd defendant (Insp. Aliyu Dadje) M.I Tona told the court that his client was induced into making his statement.
Tona added that his client was asked to implicate the soldiers in order to regain his freedom.
Lawyer to Zubairu Abdullahi (the 6th defendant), Yakubu Philemon claimed that his client was tortured into making his statement.
The lawyers then applied that a trial-within-trial be conducted to ascertained whether or not the defendants made their statements voluntarily, as claimed by the prosecution, a request Justice Binta Nyako granted
Testyfing at the trial-within-trial, Dadje (2nd defendant) stated that after he was arrested, he was ordered to make a statement to favour the police.
“Insp. Bitrus ordered me to record my statement myself. That if I record the statement in favour of the Intelligence Response Team, they will set me free,” Daju said.
The 6th defendant (Abdullahi), while testifying during the trial-within-trial, claimed that he was tortured by Habila and his colleagues and forced to admit to what he knew nothing about.
“I was tied both hands and legs and hung over two drums with building blocks placed on my back.
“For about 30 minutes, they insisted that I should accept that I collected guns from Hamisu Bala which I refused. They beat me to a point that I could no longer hear them and I didn’t know where I was any longer.
“One of them climbed my body and was using his legs to message me, I had to agree to what they wanted me to agree to because of the torture,” Abdullahi said.
Testifying for the prosecution, in the trial-within-trial, Habila denied the claims by Dadje and Abdullahi.
Habila said: “He (Dadje) is my senior in the police, so I was not in any position to make any promise or to induce him to make the statement.
“Moreover, as a senior police officer of over 30 years, he should be able to know the implication of making false statement”.
He said Dadje’s statement was taken in his presence by Inspector Joseph Iloju, who is a junior officer to the defendant.
Habila said Dadje reported in Abuja by himself when he was notified that he was wanted.
Justice Nyako adjoured till July 15 for continuation of trial.
Those being tried with Hamisu, in a 13-count amended charge, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2020, are a police Inspector, Aliyu Dadje, Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu), Bashir Waziri (aka Baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho) and Rayyanu Abdul.
They are charged with offences relating to terrorism, murder, kidnapping, among others.