The office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is expected to present its sixth witness in the trial of the alleged Taraba State kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, (commonly called Wadume) before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court in Abuja on October 22.
The date was fixed at the instance of the prosecution counsel, Mr. Labaran Magaji, after Tuesday’s proceedings, where the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), Bala James, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) concluded his testimony in the case.
James Bala who earlier testified on July 15, 2020, was cross-examined by some of the defence lawyers at Tuesday’s proceedings.
Magaji told the court that he needed a short adjournment to enable him to produce his next witness.
Justice Binta Nyako, thereafter, adjourned the case till October 22 for the prosecution to present its sixth witness.
Wadume and six others are being prosecuted on 13 counts of kidnapping, escape from custody, gunrunning, detention of kidnap victim Usman Garba, and collection of the ransom of N106m from the victim before releasing him.
Apart from Wadume, the rest of the defendants are, Inspector Aliyu Dadje, who was a station officer at police headquarters in Ibi, Auwalu Bala, aka Omo Razor, Uba Bala (aka Uba Belu); Bashir Waziri, (aka Baba Runs); Zubairu Abdullahi (aka Basho); and Rayyanu Abdul.
Wadume was first arrested in Ibi, Taraba State, by members of the Intelligence Response Team of the Inspector-General of Police on August 6, 2019, before soldiers led by Captain Tijjani Balarabe aided his escape from the custody of the policemen conveying him to Abuja.
The Captain Balarabe-led troops attached to the 93 Battalion in Takum, Taraba State, had allegedly shot at the policemen who were conveying Wadume to Abuja shortly after arresting the prime suspect in Ibi, Taraba State on August 6, 2019.
The soldiers were said to have killed three policemen and two civilians while five others were wounded in the attack aimed at freeing Wadume from police custody.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr, Abubakar Malami (SAN), removed the names of the soldiers as defendants from the case within days of taking over the case from the police in July 2020.
Earlier testifying as to the fourth prosecution witness in the case, a member of the IRT of the IGP office, Inspector Samuel Habila, said Wadume escaped with gunshot wounds to Kano after soldiers aided his escape from the police on August 6, 2019.
He said the kidnap suspect was rearrested in an investigation-led operation at his uncle, Rayyanu Abdul’s place in Kano on August 20, 2019.
He also said that some of the defendants carted away the AK-47 rifles belonging to the policemen after the Balarabe-led troops shot at them.
He said one of the guns was later handed over to Balarabe by one of the defendants.
At the previous proceeding on July 15, 2020, the fifth prosecution witness, James, testified on the roles played by each of the seven defendants in the case.