For the alleged killers of the leader of the Boko Haram sect, Alhaji Mohammed Yusuf, freedom came on Thursday as a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja discharged them. The homebound officers — Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) J. B Abang, ACP Akera, ACP Adamu Buba, CSP Mohammed Ahmadu and Sergeant Adamu Gado, first to fifth defendants respectively — were discharged by Justice Evoh Chukwu, following a no-case submission filed on their behalf by their counsel, Paul Erokoro (SAN), for the first to fourth suspects, and Mr. Eddie Inegedu, who represented the fifth suspect.
Justice Chukwu held that there was no evidence from all the six prosecution witnesses linking any of the suspects to the charge of commission of a terrorist act and the killing of Yusuf. The judge noted that even the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) that testified for the prosecution did not visit the scene of the alleged crime but relied on hearsay evidence of others to charge the suspects with committing a terrorist act.
According to Justice Chukwu, "None of the witnesses also testified to the effect that any of the defendants killed Mohammed Yusuf or that any of them was responsible for the death of Mohammed Yusuf.” The court consequently discharged the defendants as the prosecution could not establish a prima facie case against any of them.
Yusuf was born on January 29, 1970 in Girgir village in Yobe State and founded the Boko Haram in 2002. He was the group's spiritual leader until he was killed in 2009. He was more commonly called Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf. Yusuf was allegedly killed in police custody after he was arrested by military personnel and handed over to the police for prosecution in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He was alleged to have attempted to escape from custody. He had four wives and 12 children.
The suspects were said to have, on or about 30th July, 2009 unlawfully killed Yusuf and his followers in Maiduguri, an offence under Section 315 of the Criminal Code and thereby committed a terrorist act contrary to and punishable under Section 15 (1) (2) of the EFCC Act, 2004. They were also alleged to have conspired to commit an offence to wit: a terrorist act, an offence contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code and punishable under Section 15 (1) (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act, 2004.