Tuesday, April 16, 2024

No records I committed crimes, says Miyetti Allah president Bodejo charged with terrorism

According to Mr Bodejo, his reputation attests to his reliability and credibility, and he will not jump bail if this application is granted.

• April 3, 2024
Bello Bodejo, Armed Herdsmen
Bello Bodejo, Armed Herdsmen

The detained president of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, tells the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court that he has no criminal record.

Mr Bodejo, arrested on the alleged raising of an armed militia to the detriment of Nigeria’s unity, told Justice Inyang Ekwo in a motion for bail filed by his lawyer, Ahmed Raji.

In the motion, dated March 28 and with charge number FHC/ABJ/CR/141/2024, he sought an order admitting him to bail on liberal terms pending the hearing and determination of the case against him.

Mr Bodejo, who was arrested on January 23 in Malia, Nasarawa and kept in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency, was arraigned on March 22.

He was arraigned on a three-count charge bordering on terrorism.

The detained Miyetti Allah president gave nine grounds why he should be granted bail. He said the offences with which he was charged were bailable ones.

“The defendant/applicant has no criminal record whatsoever,” he said.

According to him, his reputation attests to his reliability and credibility, and he will not jump bail if this application is granted.

He said he had “suffered from grave ill health, an exceptional circumstance for the grant of bail.”

Mr Bodejo argued that by Section 36 (5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Besides, he said the charge preferred against him did not disclose a prima facie case against him.

He told the court that he would not interfere with the investigation or further investigation of the allegation(s) against him.

The defendant, who pledged to always attend his trial punctually, said he was ready to provide responsible sureties as the court may require.

However, in a counter-affidavit deposed to by Noma Wando, a litigation clerk in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federal Ministry of Justice, he urged the court to dismiss Mr Bodejo’s bail plea.

He said Mr Bodejo was standing trial for terrorism-related offences bordering on the establishment of an ethnic militia in Nasarawa, management and participation in activities connected with acts prejudicial to national security and public safety.

The official alleged that Mr Bodejo also provided material support, assistance and transportation for activities connected with such acts contrary to sections 29, 2(3)(g}(xii) and 12(a) and Section 2(3)(g)(xii), and 13 (2)(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

He said that after his arraignment, the court ordered that he be remanded in DIA custody, ordered an accelerated hearing, and fixed the trial for May 27 to 30.

Mr Wando disagreed that Mr Bodejo was suffering from any life-threatening health condition that cannot be managed at the DIA Medical Centre, Abuja.

He said the DIA is a neighbouring State House Medical Centre, Abuja, “which boasts of the best doctors, specialists, and consultants.”

He said it could also cater for Mr Bodejo’s medical needs if need be, “despite the fact that he is not suffering from any life-threatening health condition that cannot be managed” at the DIA Medical Centre.

He said contrary to Mr Bodejo’s averments, he was diagnosed with only high blood pressure, which had since been managed effectively and efficiently by the centre.

Mr Abubakar averred that the detained Miyetti Allah president would not suffer any injustice if the bail was not granted. 

He said this was so because “the federal government’s holding centres and custodial centres have always ensured that the medical needs of persons in custody are met, and they have always undertaken to ensure that whenever the occasion arises, special medical treatment is available to their inmates.”

Upon resumed hearing on Wednesday, counsel Sulaiman Usman, who appeared for Mr Bodejo, told the court that they had a bail application that was slated for hearing.

Mr Usman, however, said they were not ready to proceed with the motion because the prosecution had just served them their counter-affidavit the previous day.

The lawyer said they would need more time to respond to the new issues raised in the counter affidavit.

The prosecution lawyer, Y.A. Imana, did not oppose Mr Usman’s plea for an adjournment.

Mr Usman equally made an oral application seeking an order for Mr Bodejo to be granted access to his lawyers, which he said was required by law. He said the defendant should be afforded adequate time and facility to defend himself.

However, Ms Imana disagreed with Mr Usman’s submission that Mr Bodejo was not given access to his lawyers.

She said she was unaware of the allegation.

The lawyer said that besides that, the prosecution had ensured that the last court order directing Mr Bodejo to be given access to his doctor was complied with, and the defendant’s lawyer confirmed to her that he visited him (the defendant) in custody.


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