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Kaduna train attack: Court declines to transfer ex-terrorist negotiator, Mamu to prison

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has refused an application the Abuja-Kaduna train kidnap negotiator, Mr. Tukur Mamu, who is facing a 10-count terrorism charge, filed to be transferred to Kuje prison.

Mamu, who was on April 27, 2023, denied bail by the court, had through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Abdul Mohammed, SAN, begged the trial court to relocate him from the detention facility of the Department of State Services, DSS, where he is currently being held, to prison custody.

The defendant, among other things, alleged that an order the court made on October 31, 2023, which directed the security agency to grant him access to his personal physician for medical treatment, was not complied with.

He told the court that since he was detained, the DSS only allowed him access to his doctor once, during which he said a report of comprehensive medical examination to be carried out on him was submitted to the security agency.

Mamu decried that since the said medical report was submitted, he had not been allowed to see his doctor again despite the fact that he needed to urgently undergo a surgical operation in any hospital in the country.

He told the court that his health had since deteriorated, saying he may lose his life any moment if he was not moved out of the custody of the DSS, to Kuje prison.

The defendant pledged to always be available in court for the case.

However, in his ruling on Monday, trial Justice Inyang Ekwo, said the court took several factors into consideration, including the security situation at various custodial facilities in the country.

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According to the court, the defendant failed to refute the claim by the prosecution that there have been rampant jail breaks in the country.

He held that failure of the defendant to controvert that claim in the counter-affidavit the prosecution filed against his request, amounted to an admission of the fact.

The court held that the defendant equally failed to show that his health needs could not be met at the DSS detention facility.

It held that no credible evidence capable of swaying the court to exercise its discretion in favour of the defendant, was adduced.

Consequently, the court refused the application and fixed June 3, 4, 5 and 6 for continuation of the trial.

Meanwhile, the court warned the DSS to comply with its order by granting the defendant access to his personal physician.

The Federal Government had on March 21, 2023, arraigned Mamu for allegedly aiding terrorist operations in the country.

The Kaduna-based Islamic scholar was further accused of collecting various sums of money in different currencies from families of victims the train attack, on behalf of the Boko Haram terrorists sect.

FG told the court that investigations revealed that the defendant collected an aggregate sum of $420, 000 from families of the victims, as well as N21million from another set of families of the train attack.

It further alleged that Mamu concealed funds he earned from services he rendered to the terrorist organization, in his residence in Kaduna State.

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It told the court that the defendant had sometime in 2022, in Kaduna state, received ransom payments in the sum of N500, 000 on behalf of the Boko haram terrorist group, from families of the train attack that were held as hostages.

More so, in the charge that was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, DPPF, Mr, M.B. Abubakar, FG, added that the defendant exchanged voice note communications with one Baba Adamu, identified as spokesperson of the Boko Haram, in relation to acts of terrorism.

It maintained that the defendant acted in breach of the Terrorism Prevention, Prohibition Act, 2022.

It will be recalled that Mamu was on September 6, 2022, arrested at Cairo, Egypt, while he was on his way to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj with his family members.

He was subsequently brought back to the country and immediately taken into custody by the DSS which subsequently obtained a detention order against him.

DSS had in an affidavit that was deposed to by one of its operatives, Hamza Pandogari, told the court that Mamu, who is the publisher of Dessert Herald, used the cover of journalism to perpetrate his deeds.

It told the court that the detained publisher was on his way to attend a clandestine meeting with top terrorist commanders, when he was intercepted in Egypt through the help of the International Police, Interpol.

It alleged that preliminary investigations revealed that Mamu may be involved in terrorism financing.

“The self acclaimed Kaduna train negotiator exploit the opportunity to perpetrate, aid and abets as well as render support to both local and international terrorist organisations.

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“That the respondent was intercepted by the Nigerian foreign partners at Cairo, Egypt, on 6th September, 2022, while on his way to Saudi Arabia for a clandestine meeting with commanders and top leaders of terrorists organisations across the globe.

“That upon his interception, and subsequent repatriation back to Nigeria, a duly signed search warrant was executed in his residence and office at No. 4, Ali Ladan Street, Sabon Kawo GRA and No. 14, Mamona Road, Anguwan Sarki, Kaduna State and various exhibits and items to establish his complicity with terrorists were recovered”, the affidavit read.

The security agency told the court that following the execution of the search warrant, various incriminating items were recovered from Mamu’s residence and office.

It listed some of the 34 recovered items to include; 151 dollars, 20 pounds sterling; 1, 530 Indian Rupees; one Saudi Riyald; 70 Dirham; one million, five hundred and six thousand naira; and 16 assorted foreign coins.

The DSS further alleged that two packs of pump action cartridges; 16 ATM (auto-mated machine) cards from both local and foreign banks; seven cheque books of different banks; six laptops; four tablets; 24 handsets and three international passports belonging to Mamu; one firearm licence; eight pieces of Nigerian Army uniforms; 16 pieces of Nigerian Naval uniforms, were also recovered.

However, upon his arraignment, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge that was preferred against him by FG.

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