Miyetti Allah

FG arraigns Miyetti Allah President, Bodejo, on 3-count terrorism charge

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The Federal Government arraigned the detained President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, at a Federal High Court in Abuja on a three-count charge bordering on terrorism on Friday.

He was docked for allegedly establishing and unlawfully supporting an ethnic militia group – Kungiya Zaman Lafiya.

Bodejo, who was arrested on January 23 in Malia, Nasarawa State, and kept in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), was arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

Bodejo’s arrest was predicated on the alleged raising of an armed militia detrimental to the nation’s unity, contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), in a motion ex-parte marked FHC/ABJ/CS/141/2024, sought an order to remand Bodejo, the sole respondent, in NIA custody for 15 days pending the conclusion of the investigation and arraignment in court.

The motion was dated and filed on February 5 by Mohammed Abubakar, Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation in the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice.

According to the Federal Government, the suspect is being investigated for offenses constituting a threat to national security under the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022).

Justice Ekwo, on February 22, gave the Federal Government a seven-day ultimatum to file charges against the detained “Miyetti Allah” president following the expiration of the 15-day order.

Bodejo’s counsel, Mohammed Sheriff, on March 13, adopted and argued the motion filed on his client’s behalf, and the matter was fixed for Friday for a ruling.

Delivering the ruling on Friday, the judge observed that after the matter was adjourned on March 13, the prosecution filed an 11-paragraph affidavit on March 15, stating that a charge had been filed against Bodejo on March 12 and that the defendant had been served.

He said the prosecution, which filed a counter-affidavit opposing the plea for bail, also averred to produce him in court for arraignment.

Justice Ekwo said, though the matter was reserved for ruling, the application had been overtaken by events by virtue of the prosecution having filed a charge against Bodejo.

“A matter is said to be overtaken by events when something happens that has the capacity to change the original course of action or when there is a superseding cause that makes a previous cause of action no longer a suitable pursuit.

“In judicial consideration, a matter overtaken by events means that by the prevailing circumstance, a previous cause of action has lost its currency and by virtue of that, become academic,” the judge said, and consequently ordered Bodejo to enter his plea to the charge against him, in accordance with the provision of Section 159 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

Sheriff, however, informed the court that though they were served with the amended charge late Thursday, he said they felt it was appropriate for his client to take his plea.

The detained “Miyetti Allah” president, however, pleaded not guilty to the three-count charges after they were read to him.

Abubakar, who appeared for the prosecution, prayed the court for them to call their witnesses in view of the plea of not guilty, adding that two witnesses had been listed to establish their case against Bodejo, though additional witnesses might be called.

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But, Bodejo’s lawyer argued that the arraignment was defective because the leave of the court was required before the amended charge could be read to his client.

He said that the prosecution already filed a one-count charge before bringing up the amended one.

The judge then told Sheriff to bring this up in the final address.

Abubakar, however, applied that Bodejo should continue to be detained in the DIA custody, and Justice Ekwo granted the oral application.

Sheriff informed the court about Bodejo’s state of health and urged the court to direct the prosecution to give him proper medical treatment.

“My lord, when we came into the court, we heard the prosecuting counsel asking our client about his health.

“And when I inquired, he told me that he has been ill for a long time in custody. We apply that the prosecution should provide necessary medical care to the defendant.

“We also apply that the defendant be allowed to have access to his counsel as provided by the constitution,” he prayed.

The judge then directed the question to Abubakar, who promised to ensure that Bodejo is given proper medical care.

Justice Ekwo, however, warned against mobilizing people to come around the court on each adjourned date to protest and distort proceedings.

The judge, who said at least 10 family members of Bodejo would always be allowed in court, adjourned the matter until May 27, May 28, May 29, and May 30 for trial.

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