By HENRY UMORU & IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI, abuja
There was a new twist in the on-going trial of six suspected members of the Boko Haram yesterday when two of them told a Federal High Court in Abuja that their confessional statements to the State Security Service, SSS, were obtained under duress.
Those being tried include include, Shuaibu Abubakar (a.k.a Abu Quatada), Salisu Ahmed, Umar Babagana Umar, Mohammed Ali, Musa Adamu and Umar Ibrahim,
However, Salisu Ahmed and Musa Adamu, who were charged as the 2nd and 5th accused persons respectively, asked the presiding Justice Aliyu Bilkisu to disregard their separate confessional statements that counsel to the SSS, Mr T.O Olatigbe, sought to tender as evidence against them.
The SSS which recommended their prosecution had maintained that its agents had established the culpability of the accused persons in the bomb explosions that killed 16 persons at the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Suleja, Niger state, on the eve of the presidential election, adding that so many devotees of the sect hitherto under the tutelage of the accused persons, are presently at large.
At the resumed hearing on the case yesterday, the second accused person, Ahmed, distanced himself from his supposed confessional statements dated August 9 and October 6, while the fifth accused, Adamu, told the court that he was on July 11, coerced by an investigative officer of the SSS into admitting that he is a member of the Boko Haram sect in Niger state.
Speaking in Hausa, the duo urged the court to disregard all the information contained in the statements which were brought to court yesterday by the SSS investigative officer, Mr. Alhassan Iliyassu, expressing their readiness to give oral evidence in the open court explaining all they know about the activities of Boko Haram.
Though Iliyassu debunked the allegation by the accused persons, trial Justice Bilkisu declined to record his evidence in chief pending when the veracity of the accusation was proved.
Meanwhile, the court has equally deferred hearing on bail applications filed on behalf of the six accused persons by their counsel, Nureni Suleiman and kevin Okoro, till the next adjourned date.
Meanwhile, National Publicity Secretary of PDP, Professor Rufai Alkali in a statement yesterday decried CPC’s statements which allegedly cast aspersions on the party over the arrest of Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume for allegedly divulging classified information to the Boko Haram members saying the CPC’s outbursts were both ‘’immature and irresponsible.’’ Alkali said, ‘’The remarks are not only immature and irresponsible, but also a vain attempt to draw political capital by a party that is enmeshed in deep political crisis.
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