The Nigeria Police Force has filed a 16-count charge bordering on terrorism, murder, kidnapping and illegal arms running against Bala Hamisu (aka Wadume), the alleged Taraba kingpin, Tijjani Balarabe, a captain in the Nigerian Army, and 18 others.
The criminal charge was filed by Simon Lough, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Anthony Egwu, and Peter Amadi, all of the Legal/Prosecution Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja, on February 3.
The defendants on the charge sheet include Staff Sergeant David Isaiah; Sergeant Ibrahim Mohammed; Corporal Bartholomew Obanye; Private Mohammed Nura; Lance Corporal Okorozie Gideon; Corporal Markus Michael; L/Corporal Nvenaweimoeimi Akpagra; Staff Sgt. Abdullahi Adamu; Private Ebele Emmanuel; ASP Aondona Iorbee and Insp. Aliyu Dadje and Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor.
Others are Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Ahmad Suleiman (aka Dan Ball); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); Hafizu Bala (aka Maiwelder); and Rayyanu Abdul.
The indictment comes six months after Wadume was allegedly assisted to escape on August 6, 2019, by soldiers attached to Battalion 93, Takum, led by Balarabe.
Wadume escaped when the policemen, who arrested him, were attacked by the troops.
Three policemen and two civilians were killed during the incident, while five other police officers were injured.
Count one of the charge read: “That you, Alhaji Hamisu Bala, 33, aka Wadume; Capt. Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe; ASP Aondona Iorbee; Insp. Aliyu Dadje; Auwalu Bala; Uba Bala; Ahmad Suleiman; Bashir Waziri; Zubairu Abdullahi; Rayyanu Abdul and others now at large, between February and April 2019 at Takum and Ibi, Taraba State, within the jurisdiction of this court, while acting in concert, conspired together to commit felony, to wit: acts of terrorism, by attacking and kidnapping one Usman Garba, aka Mayo, at his filling station in Takum, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.”
The defendants are also accused of possessing six AK-47 rifles and dealing in prohibited firearms contrary to Section 27 (1)(a)(I) and (1)(b)(iii) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
The police stated that the prosecution would rely on the testimonies of 29 eyewitnesses, some of whom would testify on how one Usman Garba was kidnapped on February 16, 2019, at Takum, Taraba State, by Wadume and his gang.
The force stated that the kidnappers allegedly demanded a N200 million ransom and killed the victim despite receiving N106.3 million.
“DCP Abba Kyari, CSP Baba Khali, ASP Abdulrahman Mohammed, ASP Bawa James, Insps Habila Samuel and Ilarju Joseph are the investigating police officers in this case; they will testify about their findings in the course of the investigation and will tender exhibits and documents,” the police said.
Among exhibits attached to the charge are the call logs showing the phone communication between Wadume, Balarabe and the police officers at Ibi Police Station.
The logs showed that Wadume and the army captain exchanged 166 phone calls. Documents also showed that Wadume also made several calls to the Ibi Divisional Police Officer.
Also listed as exhibits in the case are the written statements of the defendants, photographs of the victims, autopsy reports, six AK-47 rifles recovered from the gang, three empty shells, one live ammunition and six Volkswagen Sharon buses, and one (police) Toyota Hiace bus, among others.