Twins, 473 other Boko Haram suspects released

Written by on February 19, 2018

Many lost control of their emotions after the Federal High Court sitting in Wawa Cantonment, New Bussa, Kainji, Niger State, on Friday when the Court ordered the release of 475 Boko Haram suspects detained in the barracks.

They were arrested and detained on the suspicion of being members or linked to Boko Haram or the sect’s terrorism activities.

The four judges who sat in the special courts established to fast-track the cases of the over 1,000 suspects held in the detention facility, ordered that the 475 inmates be rehabilitated before being reintegrated into the society.

The judges ordered the release of the detainees, who were produced in four batches following ex parte motions filed by the Federal Government admitting that there was no evidence to prosecute them.

The Federal Government, through its prosecutors from the Federal Ministry of Justice, anchored the ex parte motions on Section 35 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.

Among the 475 inmates ordered to be released on Friday were two 38-year-old twins, Taye and Kehinde Hamza.

They were born in Girinya, Kogi State, to their parents who both hailed from Ogbomoso, Oyo State.

They said they lived their adult lives in Bauchi, Bauchi State, where they moved to with their parents.

Narrating their ordeals, the twins who were both automobile mechanic before their arrest, said they were arrested on November 11, 2010, for allegedly repairing a car for some Boko Haram members.

They said the police refused to release them until after 18 days, adding that N20,000 was demanded from their parents as a pre-condition for releasing them.

According to them, few days after the payment, they were moved to Abuja in line with the directive of the then Inspector-General of Police that all Boko Haram suspects in police custody across the country be moved to the Federal Capital Territory.

Kehinde said, “We spent seven months in the custody of the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja.

“They later cleared us and moved us back to the Bauchi State Command for the command to release us.

“But when we got to Bauchi, the police said they were not going to release us since our brothers had written a petition against them.

“Before we knew what was happening, they charged us before the Federal High Court in Bauchi.”

Kehinde said the trial was going on for two years, while they were remanded in Bauchi prison.

He said the court was to deliver its ruling on their no-case submission on May 19, 2014, when suddenly they were moved to Wawa Barracks following a directive that all Boko Haram suspects were to be detained in military facilities.

“When we were remanded in the prison, our parents, wives and children used to visit us. But since we were moved here, they no longer had access to us since they did not know where we were taken to,” Kehinde said.

He said their father died while they were in prison.

As of the time of their arrest, Taye had two wives with six children, while Kehinde had a wife with five children.

The twins said they were planning to move with their families into their jointly-build house in Bauchi State when the police arrested them.

A 15-year-old nursing mother, Fatima Mohammed, who was also released on Friday, gave birth to her son, Maman, three months ago in detention.

She said she was 11 years old in 2011 when her brother married her off to his friend, a fellow Boko Haram member, with whom she lived for four years in the Sambisa forest.

She was arrested in Yemteke village, near Maiduguri, Borno State, after she escaped from the forest in 2014.

Fatima said she and her mother were taken to Sambisa forest by their brother who was a Boko Haram member.

She said she had not seen her mother, who lived in another part of the forest before she was arrested by soldiers.

Also among the released inmates was a 1998 graduate of Sociology, Mr. Mohammed Yusuf, and his colleague at an automobile shop in Jos, Kyari Garba.

Forty-year-old Yusuf said he had his mandatory National Youth Service Corps scheme in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, in 2000.

He and his colleague were arrested by the police for selling a Honda Odyssey to some Boko Haram members in Jos in 2014.

The vehicle, which he said his company, Pama Motors, Jos, sold to the strangers, was later used for a failed bombing, targeted at a football viewing centre.

“The police were able to use the rear number plate which was not badly affected by the explosion to link the car to a retired Bauchi State Permanent Secretary – who sold the car to us,” he said.

He said four of them were initially arrested but two others – his boss and the retired permanent secretary were later released.

“We were released too, but eight days after our release, they asked us to return to the Force headquarters in Abuja.

“They told us that we had been cleared, but I can’t explain why we were not released.

“It was from there that we were transferred here.”

Seventy years old father Modu Kelube and his 35-year-old son, Ali, were also released.

Kelube and his son were arrested by the Civilian JTF in 2015.

Speaking in Hausa, the son said the Civilian JTF decided to arrest him and his father when they could not find his brother who was a Boko Haram member.

Meanwhile, there were over 200 detained suspects sentenced to various years, ranging from three years to 60 years, imprisonment during the week-long proceedings in the barracks.

Over 80 others had their cases struck out by the court while others had theirs adjourned and transferred to either Abuja or Minna divisions of the Federal High Court for hearing.

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