FG arraigns “Miyetti Allah” president, Bello Bodejo, on 3-count terrorism charge

The offence is punishable under Section 29 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

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FG arraigns “Miyetti Allah” president, Bello Bodejo, on 3-count terrorism charge
Bello Bodejo

The Federal Government  on Friday, arraigned the detained President, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo, at a Federal High Court, Abuja on a three-count charge bordering on terrorism.

Bodejo, who was arrested on Jan. 23 in Malia, Nasarawa State and kept in the custody of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), was arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Bodejo’s arrest was predicated on the alleged raising up an armed militia to the detriment of the nation’s unity contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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The FG, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), in a motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/141/2024, had sought an order to remand Bodejo, the sole respondent, in the NIA custody for 15 days pending conclusion of investigation and arraignment in court.

The motion was dated and filed Feb. 5 by Mohammed Abubakar, Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation in the office of the AGF and Minister of Justice.

According to the FG, the suspect is being investigated for offences which constitute threat to national security under the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022 ).

Justice Ekwo had, on Feb. 22, gave the FG seven days ultimatum to file charges against the detained “Miyetti Allah” president following the expiration of the 15-day order.

Bodejo’s counsel, Sheriff, on March 13, adopted and argued the motion filed on his client’s behalf and the matter was fixed for today for ruling.

Delivering the ruling on Friday, the judge observed that after the matter was adjourned on March 13, the prosecution filed an 11-paragraphed affidavit on March 15, stating that a charge had been filed against Bodejo on March 12 and that the defendant had been served.

He said the prosecution, which filed a counter affidavit opposing the plea for bail, also averred to produce him in court for arraignment.

Justice Ekwo said that though the matter was reserved for ruling, the application had been overtaken by event by virtue of the prosecution having filed a charge against Bodejo.

“A matter is said to be overtaken by event when something happens that has the capacity to change the original course of action, or, when there is a superseding course occurs that makes a previous course of action no longer a suitable pursuit.

“In judicial consideration, a matter overtaken by event means that by the prevailing circumstance, a previous course of action has lost its currency and by virtue of that, become academic,” he said

The judge consequently ordered Bodejo to enter his plea to the charge against him, in accordance with provision of Section 159 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

Sheriff, however, informed the court that though they were served with the amended charge late yesterday, he said they felt it was appropriate for his client to take his plea.

The detained “Miyetti Allah” president, however, pleaded not guilty to the three counts after they were read to him.

Abubakar, who appeared for the prosecution, prayed the court for them to call their witnesses in view of the plea of not guilty.

He told the court that two witnesses had been listed to establish their case against Bodejo, though additional witnesses might be called

But Bodejo’s lawyer argued that the arraignment was defective because the leave of the court was required before the amended charge could be read to his client.

He said that the prosecution already filed a one-count charge before bringing up the amended one.

The judge then told Sheriff to bring this up in the final address.

Abubakar, however, applied that Bodejo should continue to be detained in the DIA custody and Justice Ekwo granted the oral application.

Sheriff informed the court about Bodejo’s state of health and urged the court to direct the prosecution to give him proper medical treatment

“My lord ,when we came into the court, we heard the prosecuting counsel asking our client about his health.

“And when i enquired, he told me that he has been illed for a long time in the custody.

“We apply that the prosecution should provide necessary medical care to the defendant.

“We also apply that the defendant be allowed to have access to his counsel as provided by the constitution,” he prayed.

The judge then directed the question to Abubakar, who promised to ensure that Bodejo is giving proper medical care.

Justice Ekwo, however, warned against mobilising people to come around the court on each adjourned date to protest and distort proceedings.

“I don’t want the premises of the court distorted on day of trial.

“Tell the defendant. Those who are drumming, thinking it is a carnival, they will not face the trial,” he warned.

The judge, who said at least 10 family members of Bodejo would always be allowed in court, adjourned the matter until May 27, May 28, May 29 and May 30 for trial.

In count one of the amended charge dated and filed on March 21, Bodejo, 38, was alleged to have commited an offence by establishing an ethnic militia known as “KUNGIYA ZAMAN LAFIYA” in Nasarawa State without authorisation.

The offence is punishable under Section 29 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.