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Kaduna kicks against release of IMN members on trial, vows to appeal ruling

Kaduna kicks against release of IMN members on trial, vows to appeal ruling
February 21
22:32 2020
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The Kaduna state government says it will appeal the judgment of the high court discharging all the defendants in its case against some members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).

Over 300 persons were killed when members of IMN clashed with soldiers after blocking the convoy of Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, in Zaria in December 2015.

The state government had preferred a five-count charge bothering on criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace and wrongful restraint against members of the group reportedly arrested at the scene of the clash.

Delivering judgement on the case on Friday, the court held that the evidence tendered by the prosecution was not legally admissible and that no case had been made.

It subsequently discharged all the defendants.

But Aisha Dikko, Kaduna attorney-general and commissioner of justice, said the state was surprised and displeased with the judgement.

In a statement on Friday, Dikko said the prosecution called 36 witnesses, including high ranking military personnel, and tendered 106 exhibits to prove its case.

She described the judgement as “erroneous and perverse”, adding that the state would head to the appeal court.

“The Kaduna State Government will appeal the discharge of the defendants in the State versus Mahdi Munkaila and 91 others. This is one the cases arising from the Zaria clashes of December 2015. After calling 36 witnesses and tendering 106 exhibits, the prosecution is surprised that the court concluded that a legally admissible case had not been made,” Dikko said.

“The state is dissatisfied with the ruling of the court which is, in our view, erroneous in law, perverse and cannot be supported having regards to the evidence led before the court by the prosecution.

“As such, the state will be lodging an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Kaduna, as soon as the full text of the ruling of the high court and other records are compiled.

“The case in KDH/KAD/40C/2016 began as a fallout of the events that began in Zaria from 12th December 2015 when members of a now proscribed group attempted to prevent the convoy of the Chief of Army Staff from passing through a public highway.

“After the clashes, 90 of those arrested at the scene were handed over to the police. At the conclusion of investigations, a five count charge of Criminal Conspiracy, Culpable Homicide, Unlawful Assembly, Disturbance of Public Peace and Wrongful Restraint, under Sections 97, 221, 102, 106 and 256 of the Penal Code, was preferred against them. The matter was assigned to Hon. Justice H.T.D Gwadah of the Kaduna State High Court for trial.

“A total of 36 witnesses were called by the prosecuting counsel from the office of the Attorney General & Commissioner for Justice of Kaduna State. Witnesses included senior military officers who were with the Chief of Army Staff at the scene of the crime, Senior Police Officers, a Consultant Pathologist, Ballisticians and Victims of the crime.”

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