Soldiers who murdered cops: Falana writes Attorney General of the Federation

Soldiers who murdered cops: Falana writes Attorney General of the Federation

Wednesday, June 17, 2020 8:25 am


Femi Falana

Mr Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, has fired an open letter to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, alleging attempt to cover a murder case involving Nigerian soldiers.

According to Falana, “While ASP Felix Adolije and the team were transporting a kidnap suspect to the police headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State they were pursued and accosted by a gang of soldiers led by one Captain Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe. The soldiers forcefully freed the suspect and embarked on the gruesome murder of three policemen and two civilians in cold blood. Five other policemen sustained life-threatening injuries during the attack. 

“Notwithstanding the abortive attempt to cover up  the dastardly act of the alleged killer-soldiers by the authorities of the Nigerian Army the Nigeria Police Force investigated the case.

However, the alleged kidnap kingpin was rearrested by the Police. In the course of his investigation the  suspect gave details of the criminal activities perpetrated by him with the connivance of a number of soldiers and policemen.

“The request of the police investigation team to interrogate the 10 soldiers  who were indicted in the killing of the 3 policemen and 2 civilians as well as the kidnap of  members of the public in Taraba State was turned down by the Army Authorities

Below is the letter

15th June, 2020 

The Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,

Federal Ministry of Justice,

Maitama District,

Abuja, FCT.

REQUEST FOR THE IMMEDIATE ARREST AND PROSECUTION OF 10 SOLDIERS WHO KILLED THREE POLICEMEN AND TWO CIVILIANS IN TARABA STATE ON AUGUST 6, 2019.

We are Solicitors to the bereaved family of the late ASP Felix Adolije who was a dutiful member of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police. 

Our clients’ instructions are briefly stated as follows:

1. On Tuesday, August 6, 2019, ASP Felix Adolije led the team of policemen that 

arrested an alleged kidnap suspect, Hamisu Bala (alia Wadume) who had been terrorising the people of Taraba State for over two years. 

2. While ASP Felix Adolije and the team were transporting the kidnap suspect to the police headquarters in Jalingo, Taraba State they were pursued and accosted by a gang of soldiers led by one Captain Ahmed Tijjani Balarabe. The soldiers forcefully freed the suspect and embarked on the gruesome murder of three policemen and two civilians in cold blood. Five other policemen sustained life-threatening injuries during the attack. 

3. Notwithstanding the abortive attempt to cover up  the dastardly act of the alleged killer-soldiers by the authorities of the Nigerian Army the Nigeria Police Force investigated the case.

However, the alleged kidnap kingpin was rearrested by the Police. In the course of his investigation the  suspect gave details of the criminal activities perpetrated by him with the connivance of a number of soldiers and policemen.

4. The request of the police investigation team to interrogate the 10 soldiers  who were indicted in the killing of the 3 policemen and 2 civilians as well as the kidnap of  members of the public in Taraba State 

was turned down by the Army Authorities. 

5. Thus, the trial of the other suspects has not commenced in 

Charge NO: FHC/ABJ/CR/30/2020: Inspector-General of Police v Hamisu Bala a.k.a. Wadume &19 Ors pending at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja due to the refusal of the military oligarchy to release the  suspected killer-soldiers to face justice. 

6. Hence, when the case was mentioned in  court on March 16, 2020 the police prosecutor rightly applied for an order for the production of the soldiers indicted in the investigation conducted into the gruesome murder  of the  officers of the Nigerian Police in Taraba State. In granting the application the presiding Judge, the Honourable Justice Binta Nyako ordered the Chief of Army Staff or any person who has the custody of the indicted soldiers to produce them in Court to face trial. Attached herewith is the Certified True Copy of the  order of the Federal High Court.

7. Instead of using your position as the Chief Law Officer of the Federation to ensure compliance with the court order in line with the provisions of section 287 of the Constitution of Nigeria your office took over the case from the police prosecutor, amended the charge and withdrew the case  against the suspects.

8. In view of the gravity of the 16-count charge of terrorism, murder and  kidnapping pending in court against the 20 suspects you will agree with us that the withdrawal of the case against the alleged 10 killer-soldiers is not in consonance with section 174 of the Constitution which provides for the take over and withdrawal of pending criminal case “in the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.”

9. Stemming from the foregoing, we hereby request immediate compliance with the valid and subsisting order of the Federal High Court, Abuja Judicial Division by ensuring that the suspects who are at large are produced by the Chief of Army Staff or whoever has their custody  so that they can be arraigned and tried in accordance with the law. 

10. Whilst we anticipate your expeditious consideration of our request and your full cooperation in this regard we are compelled to remind you of the case of Godwin Josiah v. The State (1985) 1 NWLR (Part 11) page 125 at 141 where Oputa JSC (of blessed memory) said “…justice is not a one-way traffic.  It is not justice for the appellant only.  Justice is not even only a two-way traffic.  It is really a three-way traffic – justice for the appellant(accused) of a heinous crime of murder; justice for the victim…, ‘whose blood is crying out to heaven for vengeance’ and finally justice for society at large – the society whose social norms and values had been desecrated and broken by the criminal act complained of.”

TAKE NOTICE  that if you fail to accede to our request within seven days of the receipt of this letter we shall not hesitate to take appropriate action under the law in order to ensure the slain  police officers and civilians do not die in vain. 

Yours faithfully, 

FEMI FALANA, SAN, FCI Arb

 

The letter

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