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General News of Tuesday, 16 August 2022


Wadume: HURIWA slams Justice Nyako over judgement on Taraba kidnap kingpin

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) on Tuesday, criticised Justice Binta Nyako for her light judgement on Taraba-based kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, popularly known as Wadume.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said by sentencing Wadume to seven years without an option of a fine, the judiciary is allegedly aiding kidnapping because the convict’s offences were far heavier than the punishment he got.

The group urged the Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, to appeal the “sham judgment” for a strong sentence for justice to be served over the officers who lost their lives to Wadume and his bloody gang.

Recall that Wadume’s trial lasted three years before he was convicted on July 22, on counts brought against him and six others by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

Wadume was convicted on counts two and 10 bordering on escaping from lawful custody, unlawfully dealing in prohibited firearms, terrorism, and kidnapping.

Some soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe were also named in the charges but the AGF took up the case from the police and removed the soldiers’ names from the charges.

Malami said he withdrew charges against the soldiers to allow the Nigerian Army to court-martial them but no news was heard about the court-martial.

Other defendants in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2020 are: Aliyu Dadje (a police inspector), Auwalu Bala (aka omo razor), Uba Bala (aka Uba Delu), Bashir Wazlri (aka baba runs), Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho) and Rayyanu Abdul.

Reacting to the sentence of Wadume by Justice Binta Nyako, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The sham judgment criminally obtained from the backdoor is highly condemnable.

“The verdict of Justice Binta Nyako is lenient and allegedly creates the impression of arrangement and accord between the prosecution and the judiciary.”

The rights group said that were the judiciary independent, it could have petitioned the National Judicial Council, NJC, “but we are urging Nigerians to take note that there are double standards in the dispensation of justice under President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrating that the judiciary has been captured by the executive arm of government.

"The judge is setting a very bad precedence and tolerance for heinous crimes such as kidnapping, possession of firearms, and killing of many Nigerians including three policemen who tried to arrest him and bring him to Abuja.

“It is worrisome that so many shenanigans, secrecy, and controversy shrouded the trial of Wadume eventually before his ARRANGEE VERDICT by the Abuja division of the Federal High Court who pronounced a very lenient punishment for such massive offences. It means this government is enabling all the kidnappings taking place since 2015 and Nigerians need to speak out in total rejection and absolute condemnation.

“The judge needs to be reminded that there were many cases where lesser offences such as child molestation got heavier sentences including that of Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James, alias Baba Ijesha, who was sentenced by a Lagos court to 16 years in prison concurrently.

“In July 2022, a Lagos housekeeper, Bright Izuchukwu, was sentenced to life imprisonment for defiling two daughters of his employer. Similarly, in the same month, a 50-year-old cleric, Isa Mustapha, bagged life imprisonment for raping his neighbour’s eight-year-old daughter.

“Also in July, 21-years old Uduak Akpan was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of a job seeker in Akwa Ibom State, the late Iniubong Umoren. In the same vein, a proprietor, Abdulmalik Tanko, was sentenced to death by hanging over the kidnap and killing of a five-year-old school girl, Hanifa Abubakar.

“Even a kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, was in February 2022, sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping.

“These are just a few of the recent convictions with strong sentence even though the offences were far lesser than that of Wadume, who was accused of terrorism, unlawful possession of firearms, kidnapping, murder, and many other heinous crimes.

“Nigerians won’t take the sham and kangaroo verdict on Wadume. The IGP must appeal the judgement because it enables kidnapping which is now ubiquitous in the country. To even think that the same Justice Nyako has refused to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu since he was re-arraigned last year is baffling. Why double standards even at the law court? The Nigerian Bar Association must take up this matter which many people believed is highly compromising.”