Home » Kwara Sarkin Fulani kidnap case: How court turned down Usman Adamu’s third bail application, admitted suspects’ statements as evidence

Kwara Sarkin Fulani kidnap case: How court turned down Usman Adamu’s third bail application, admitted suspects’ statements as evidence

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By: Ibrahim Mohammed Gambari

At the resumed proceeding on February 1, 2023 Justice Adenike Akinpelu of the Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin, the judge informed the court that there were two rulings. The first ruling was the admissibility of the confessional statements of the three defendants – Usman Adamu; Giɗe Mohammed and Idrissa Adamu.

In her extensive ruling, she held that the argument of the defence counsel that the suspects’ statements are not admissible is unfounded, noting that the defendants did not allege that they were tortured or beaten, rather the legal practitioner of their choice was not present during the recording of their statements. Justice Adenike further said that according to the provision of the evidence act, the suspect’s confessional statements are admissible and the defence counsel’s objection was, therefore, overruled.

By the virtue of this ruling, the statements were marked as evidence as exhibit 4, 5 and 6. Meaning the court can rely on the statements in deciding their culpability for the alleged offence.

In the course of cross examining the prosecution witness, Femi Babalola, an operative of the State Security Service, the defence counsel argued that the victim Abubakar Ahmadu was only arrested by the military at the instance of the Vigilante Group of Nigeria, but Femi disagreed that the claim, insisting that he went to Sobi Barracks and established that the whole operation was illegal for the following reasons:

First, the operational vehicle with which the victim was convey after his arrest by his alleged abductors was a private vehicle belonging to a military officer.

Second, the manner of arrest of the victim was similar to that of kidnappers.

Third, he (the victim) was supposed to be properly handcuffed which is the best standard by the Nigerian military and paramilitary. His hands were only tied with ropes, giving an undeniable impression that he was actually kidnapped.

Fourth, the way he was blindfolded with a piece of cloth was unfounded.

Based the aforementioned facts, Femi said his findings noticeably established that the victim, Abubakar Ahmadu was kidnapped and therefore the operation was illegal.

He furthered countered claim that the abubakar Ahmadu was arrested by the military in connivance with the Vigilante Group because investigation activities firmly revealed that the first defendant, Usman Adamu, the Kwara State Sarkin Fulani in conjunction with the second and third defendants actually staged the kidnap of the victim and released him to his family after paying a ransom of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira).

A statement belonging to one army officer, Ibrahim Haruna who the military had refused to produce over his alleged involvement in the abduction of Abubakar Ahmadu was also tendered before the court as an exhibit.

Speaking as a witness about his role in the ongoing case, another DSS operative, Ibrahim Bashir, stated that his superior, Femi Babalola directed him to interpret the statement to the suspect in the Hausa Language.

During his cross examination, the lead counsel for the defendant, Adebayo Adelodun asked if he had any training in the Hausa Language and he replied that Hausa is his mother tongue, noting that by the virtue of that reality, he understands the language fluently.

Another witness, Ibrahim Ahmadu, a brother of the victim who lives in Eruwa, Oyo State said he received a call from his brother’s wife, crying the victim was nowhere to be found as he went out and had not returned back home for some days. So, he called Husseini Kehinde and they went to the Sarkin Fulani’s house otherwise known as Hardo, but all efforts to get him find a solution to the incident hit the brick wall as he never took them seriously.

Afterwards, Ibrahim Ahmadu went straight to Oko-olowo to inform their aged father who eventually contacted one Hassan Ba’ami, an influential Fulani man. Baami called the first defendant, Usman Adamu but his number didn’t go through. So, he called Giɗe Mohammed who also claimed that he heard about the issue and he was told that Abubakar Ahmadu was a criminal. GIɗe Mohammed asked them to come to his house the following day. So, Ibrahim Ahmadu, Hassan Ba’ami and his father headed to Giɗe’s at Kambi in Moro Local Government, at the house, they found Usman Adamu who told them to go and gather the sum of N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) in ransom and immediately he and his father knelt down before him. Ibrahim said Usman Adamu was not even moved by their pleas as Giɗe told them to forget about the issue except they can raise N1,000,000 (One Million Naira) to get Abubakar Ahmadu released.

Ibrahim Ahmadu revealed that the aged father had to travel to Eruwa to inform his cousin, Kelani, noting that it was amid tears and severe sorrow they sold the victim’s property at a ridiculous amount and they even had to beg some family members for money to meet up with the ransom.

Thereafter, he and Kelani took the ransom to the DSS to mark all the notes for easy identification before they handed it over to the defendants. Ibrahim Ahmadu added that the ransom was then delivered to the alleged kidnappers as Giɗe Mohammed went to bring the victim using him private motorcycle and he was released to them.

The judge, on this note, closed the prosecution team’s case.

In her second ruling, Justice Adenike however, struck out first defendant’s third bail application premised on medical ground for lacking in merit, noting that his medical condition is not beyond what the correctional centre cannot take care of.

The trial judge further admonished him to concentrate on the defence of his case and thereby adjourned the case until February 23, 2023 for the defence counsels to open their case for hearing.

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