Terrorism charge: Court discharges Miyetti Allah president

GodGift Ifunanya
5 Min Read

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday discharged the President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Kore, Alhaji Bello Bodejo, of an alleged terrorism charge filed against him by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a short ruling, discharged Bodejo after counsel for the AGF, Aderonke Imana, moved an oral application for the withdrawal of the three-count charge.

Upon resuming the hearing, Imana informed the court that she had an oral application.

The lawyer said the application was according to Section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

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She said the request was further predicated on the power of the AGF under Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

“Consequently, the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation has instructed me to withdraw this charge against the defendant in the interest of justice.

“That is our humble application, my lord,” she said.

Bodejo’s team of lawyers, including Johnson Usman, SAN, but led by Ahmed Raji, SAN, did not oppose the application.

The senior lawyer thanked the AGF, Lateef Fagbemi, SAN, for his “magnanimous gesture.”

“We urge your lordship to discharge the accused person under the sections referred to by the prosecutor,” Raji said.

Ruling, Justice Ekwo said though the matter was slated for commencement of trial, however, the prosecution applied to withdraw the charge citing relevant sections of the law

“The court is hereby moved to consider the application for the discharge of the defendant.

“Consequently, an order is hereby made discharging the defendant. That is the order of this court,” the judge declared.

Bodejo was arrested on the allegations of raising an armed militia to the detriment of the nation’s unity.

The Miyetti Allah leader, who was arrested on January 23 in Malia, Nasarawa State, and kept in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency, was arraigned on March 22 in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/141/2024.

Although he was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on terrorism, he pleaded not guilty, and the court ordered his remand in the DIA’s facility pending the hearing and determination of the case.

Bodejo had on April 3 applied for bail through his lawyer, Raji.

The detained leader of Miyetti Allah told the court that he had no criminal record.

Giving nine grounds why he should be granted bail, Bodejo said the offences with which he was charged were bailable ones.

According to him, his reputation attests not only to his reliability and credibility but also to the fact that he will not jump bail if this application is granted.

He argued that by Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

While moving the bail application on April 30, Raji argued that the counter affidavit filed by the Federal Government did not discharge the burden placed on it.

He said this was so because the counter had not disclosed “any reason why the applicant should not be admitted to bail.”

Besides, he said the prosecution, in their response, did not say Bodejo committed an act of terrorism, rather, he was said to have formed a group.

He said the name of the group, formed by the defendant, is interpreted in English as “Association for Peaceful Co-existence.”

Raji said the aim of establishing the vigilante company was to render security services to the members of the society and promote peace but not to commit any act of terrorism.

Responding, Imana disagreed with Raji.

The government lawyer prayed the court to refuse the bail plea in its entirety because it had no merit.

In the counter affidavit, the lawyer said Bodejo was standing trial for terrorism-related offences bothering the establishment of an ethnic militia in Nasarawa State, management, and participation in activities connected with acts prejudicial to national security and public safety.

Justice Ekwo, on Monday, dismissed Bodejo’s bail plea and fixed today for trial commencement.

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