The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday admitted as exhibits the confessional statements of two alleged accomplices facing charges along with the suspected Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume.
Justice Binta Nyako, who had earlier admitted the confessional statements of Wadume and four other co-defendants on Monday, ruled on Wednesday that the weight or probative value to be attached to the statements would be determined at the stage of final address.
One of the defendants, whose confessional statement was admitted as an exhibit on Wednesday, was Inspector Aliyu Dadje, a station officer at the police headquarters in Ibi, Taraba State.
Wadume was first arrested in Ibi by IRT members on August 6, 2019, before soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe aided his escape from the custody of the policemen conveying him to Abuja.
Dadje confessed in his statement that he registered the arrival of the members of the IRT from Abuja to Ibi, but tore the page of the situation register after being threatened with death by Balarabe.
The other defendant, Zubairu Abdullahi, also known as Basho, had confessed in his statement that he bought two guns from Wadume’s brother, Uba Bala, who was allegedly instructed by the alleged kidnap kingpin from Kano to sell two of his guns to raise money for special prayers after his botched police arrest.
Dadje and Abdullahi had through their lawyers, on Monday, denied the voluntariness of their statements, prompting the judge to order a trial-within-trial.
While Dadje alleged that he was induced by the police investigators into confessing to the crime to implicate Balarabe, Abdullahi said his confession followed severe bouts of torture he was subjected to.
Although the rest of the defendants comprising Wadume, Auwalu Bala (aka Omo Razor), Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba Runs); and Rayyanu Abdul, did not deny the voluntariness of their statements, their lawyers had argued that tendering the English versions, without being accompanied by the defendants’ recorded Hausa dictation of the alleged confessions was a violation of the Evidence Act.
The lawyers representing Dadje and Abdullahi also raised similar arguments but since the two defendants were the only ones, who denied the voluntariness of their statements, the judge only ordered a trial-within-trial to be held to ascertain their claims.
Ruling on Wednesday, Justice Nyako held that the two defendants failed to provide sufficient material to substantiate their claims that the statements were obtained from them in violation of the law.
She ruled, “I declare that merely denying making the statements in accordance with the provision of the law is not sufficient to reject the statements. The defendants have not provided sufficient materials before the court to show that the statements were not recorded in accordance with the law.”
She, therefore, admitted the statements in evidence but added that “the probative value or weight will be attached to it at the final address stage.”
Captain Balarabe-led troops attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, had allegedly shot at policemen, who were conveying Wadume to Abuja shortly after arresting the prime suspect in Ibi, Taraba State, on August 6, 2019.
The soldiers allegedly killed three policemen and two civilians while five others were wounded in the attack aimed at freeing Wadume from police custody.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr, Abubakar Malami (SAN), removed the names of the soldiers as defendants from the case within days of taking over the matter from the police earlier this month.
Wadume and six others are now being prosecuted on 13 counts of kidnapping, escape from custody, gunrunning, detention of kidnap victim Usman Garba, and collection of the ransom of N106m from the victim before releasing him.