By Abdulmumin Giwa
Kaduna state government has decided not to prosecute women and minors in the series of cases it filed against members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, IMN and has however discharged the accused persons.
This is contained in an application by the Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution DPP, Barrister Bayero Dari filed before Justice Hannatu Balogun of the Kaduna State High Court on Monday 20th, June 2016 asking the court to strike out the charges and discharge the accused persons.
Counsel to the accused persons in the case between the State and Muhammad Bedde and 33others, Barrister Festus Okoye did not object to the application and Justice Balogun struck out the charges and discharged the accused.
In a similar case on Tuesday 21st June 2016 between the State and Muhammad Awwal Yakubu and 80 others, filed before Justice Gabriel Wyoms of the Kaduna State High Court, 40 women and minors listed among the accused were also removed from the case and discharged as well.
This is also contained in an application filed before the court by the DPP expressing the decision of the Kaduna state government not to prosecute women and minors.
However, the case continued with the remaining accused persons whose charges were read to them to which they all pleaded not guilty.
Counsel to the accused, Barrister Festus Okoye requested for three clear days for hearing in the case which was not objected to by the state counsel.
26th, 27th, and 28th of July 2016 were fixed by the court for hearing to commence and the complainants were instructed to produce all their witnesses before the court for examination on the said dates.
More so, in response to an application filed on Tuesday by the defense Counsel Barristaer Okoye, requesting for the bail of three accused persons on grounds of ill health, for which Thursday 23rd June 2016 was fixed for hearing, the bail had been granted by Justice Wyoms with two sureties for each of the accused persons.
On Wednesday 22nd June 2016, the hearing in yet another sister case between the State and Mahdi Munkaila and others, the session could not hold in the court due to lack of available court room as one of the court rooms was used for Elections Petitions Tribunal, another was small and could not contain the accused persons and the other court is not conducive as it is under renovation.
However both the counsel to the accused and the complainant met with the Judge, Justice Hannatu Gwada in her chambers where 14th July 2016 was fixed for the case to hold.
In yet another sister case today Thursday 23rd June 2016 between State and Mustapha Ibrahim and 49 others, all the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the five count charges read to them.
The Charges, as in all the other cases include, illegal possession of firearms, unlawful assembly, culpable homicide, disturbing public peace and illegally taking over the road.
Three clear days hearing was sorted for by the counsel to the accused persons Barrister Maxwel Kyon and was accepted by the presiding judge, Justice Gabriel Wyoms which was not objected to by the counsel to the complainants and 9th, 10th, and 11th of August were fixed for commencement of hearing.
Counsel to the state was instructed to produce evidences before the court on the said hearing date.
It would be recalled that members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria IMN were attacked by the Nigerian Army in Zaria on the 12th to 14th of December 2015 after the Army accused the movement of blocking the way of the Chief of Army Staff.
Over 1000 members of the movement were reportedly killed by the soldiers and the Kaduna state government confessed burying 347 in a mass grave after the attack in a report it submitted to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to inquire into the pogrom.
191 members of the movement arrested and detained in the Kaduna Central Prison since the pogrom are facing trial before the High court in the state.