The Kaduna State Ministry of Justice has stated that it was totally dissatisfied with the ruling of the honourable court which discharged some accused persons of the proscribed Shiites sect charged in connection with the Zaria clashes of December 2015.
In a statement issued by, Hajiya Umma Hikima, attorney general and commissioner of Justice Kaduna State, said it viewed the ruling as perverse and totally lacking in merit, saying they will appeal immediately to the Kaduna Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal.
The statement explained that, in prosecuting the case, the state called 47 witnesses and tendered several exhibits, adding that the prosecution believes that a compelling case was argued: “Therefore, an appeal will be filed to challenge the ruling of the court”.
The statement explained further: “On 22nd March 2016, after conclusion of investigation by the Nigeria Police, the Kaduna government through the Attorney General’s Chambers filed a five count charge of Criminal Conspiracy, Culpable Homicide, Unlawful Assembly, Disturbance of Public Peace and Wrongful Restraint under sections 97, 221, 114, 100 and 106 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State 1991 respectively against almost 200 members of the sect that were arrested by the Army in Zaria at the scene of crime.
“Two of those charges, that is, State Vs. Mohammed Auwal Yakubu & 40 ors charge No. KDH/KAD/37C/2016 and State V. Mustapha Ibrahim & 49ors charge No. KDH/KAD/39C/2016 were assigned to the High Court No. 5 presided by Hon. Justice D.S Wyom. The two charges were later consolidated on the application of the prosecution.”
The statement added, “The prosecution called a total of 47 witnesses, including four senior military officers who were present at the time of the commission of the offence and tendered over 70 exhibits which include guns, cutlasses, knives and IEDs and also the statement of the accused persons which were confessional in nature.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendants through their counsel filed and addressed the court on No Case Submission to which the prosecution also filed and address the court.
“Today, 31st July 2018, the court delivered its ruling and, despite the quality of evidence placed before the Honourable Court, ruled in favour of the accused persons and held that the totality of the evidence led by the prosecution before the court is not sufficient to warrant the accused to be called upon to enter their defence. The court therefore discharged and acquitted all the accused persons in the two consolidated charges notwithstanding that the evidence led, and the exhibits tendered, clearly linked the accused persons, including their confessional statement.
“The Kaduna State government hereby states that it is totally dissatisfied with the ruling of the Honourable Court which it view as perverse and totally lacking in merit and shall appeal immediately to the Kaduna Judicial Division of the Court of Appeal.”
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