By Augustine Tsenzenghul
THE trial began yesterday of 20 suspects arrested in Giade, Bauchi State, for the murder of 10 Youth Corps members on election duties.
Prosecuting Police Sergeant Mohammed Kafin Madaki told the Bauchi Magistrate’s Court that the suspects, with others at large, conspired, attacked and matcheted seven corps members, one policewoman and two businessmen to death.
The prosecutor said the suspects burnt down the Divisional Police Headquarters in Giade, shops and places of worship. Besides, he said, they also burnt down six vehicles parked inside the Giade Police Station. All the actions, Madaki said, are contrary to the Penal Code laws.
Chief Magistrate Mohammed Mukhtar Abubakar ordered the suspects to be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till May 31 for further mentioning.
The 20 suspects were part of the 41 arraigned for the post-election violence in the state.
Human Rights Watch, a worldwide rights group, yesterday said 800 people died and 65,000 others were displaced in 12 states in the North when the violence, erupted at the conclusion of the presidential election on April 16.
The report, which was released yesterday, said: “The victims were killed in three days of rioting in 12 northern states. Nigeria’s state and federal authorities should promptly investigate and prosecute those who orchestrated and carried out these crimes and address the root causes of the recurring inter-communal violence.”
President Goodluck Jonathan has repeatedly vowed to bring to book the killers of the Youth Corps members. He made his latest comment last week during a meeting with parents and relatives of the slain Corps members.
Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda – who incurred the wrath of Nigerians when he declared that the youths died because it was their destiny to die – said the suspected killers of the youths had confessed to the action.
The Youth Corps members are: Paul Adewunmi (from Ekiti State), Okeoma Okechukwu Chibudon (Imo) Ukazeone Amsalem (Imo), Anyanwu Agnes (Imo), Okpokiri Obina (Imo), Tosin Olawale (Kogi), Akonye Ibrahim Sule (Kogi), Gbenjo Ebenezer Ayotunde (Osun), Adeniyi Kehinde Jelili (Osun) and Adohe Elliot (Bayelsa).
The suspects were accused of carrying out the dastardly acts in Jama’are and Giade local government areas of Bauchi State.
The remaining 20 suspects were arrested in Jama’are Local Government Area. All the 41 suspects were charged separately with criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and mischief by fire, contrary to Sections 96, 221 and 337 of the penal code laws.
Arraigning the 21 suspects from Jama’are Local Government Area, Prosecutor Sergeant Iliya Kaura told the court that they conspired among themselves, invaded Jama’are Police station and hacked with machete ASP Saleh Dahiru, after they set the station ablaze. He said they also destroyed shops and places of worship contrary to the penal code laws.
After reading the charges, the suspects also said they understood the charges. Chief Magistrate Abubakar ordered that they should be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till June 2, for mentioning.
The Nation, May 17, 2011