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Wadume’s trial resumes, prosecution to present sixth witness Oct. 22

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The trial of the alleged Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, otherwise known as Wadume, resumed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday.

The fifth prosecution witness, Bala James, who earlier testified on July 15, 2020, was cross-examined by some of the defense lawyers at the Tuesday’s proceedings.

The judge, Justice Binta Nyako, thereafter adjourned the case till October 22 for the prosecution to present its sixth witness.

Wadume and six others are being prosecuted on 13 counts of kidnapping, escape from custody, gunrunning, detention of kidnap victim Usman Garba, and collection of ransom of N106m from the victim before releasing him.

Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, by members of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police on August 6, 2019 before soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe aided his escape from the custody of the policemen conveying him to Abuja.

The Captain Balarabe-led troops attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, had allegedly shot at the policemen who were conveying Wadume to Abuja shortly after arresting the prime suspect in Ibi, Taraba State on August 6, 2019.

The soldiers were said to have 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, Abubakar Malami (SAN), removed the names of the soldiers as defendants from the case within days of taking over the case from the police in July 2020.

Earlier testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the case, a member of the IRT of the IGP office, Inspector Samuel Habila, said Wadume escaped with gunshot wounds to Kano after soldiers aided his escape from the police on August 6, 2019.

He said the kidnap suspect was rearrested in an investigation-led operation at his uncle, Rayyanu Abdul’s place in Kano on August 20, 2019.

At the previous proceeding on July 15, 2020, the fifth prosecution witness, James, testified on the roles played by each of the seven defendants in the case.

Under cross-examination by Wadume’s lawyer, Ishiaka Dikko (SAN), on Tuesday, James said he did not visit any other place apart from Wukaro and Ibi in Taraba State in respect of the investigation of the case.

Aside two of the defense lawyers, the other four defense lawyers asked one question each.

The prosecuting counsel, Labaran Magaji, then asked for an adjournment of the case to enable him to present the sixth prosecuting witness.

The judge then adjourned the case till October 22.

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