Thursday, May 19, 2011

Apo Six - Judge Grants Last Adjournment

An Abuja High Court judge, Justice Ishaq Bello yesterday granted what he described as last adjournment in the trial of the six policemen accused of killing five traders and their female companion in Abuja in 2005.

Those standing trial for the killings are DCP. Danjuma Ibrahim, ASP Othman Abdulsalami (still at large), Corporals Nicholas Zacharia, Emmanuel Baba, Emmanuel Acheneje and Sadiq Salami.

They were alleged to have killed Ifeanyi Ozo, Chinedu Meniru, Isaac Ekene, Paulinus Ogbonna, Anthony Nwokike and Tina Arebun, while they were returning home from a night-out.

The deceased were between 21 and 25 years of age.

At the resumed hearing, Bello who adjourned the matter to July 6, said it was done at the instance of counsel to Acheneje, Malam Isa Ibrahim, in order for him to get all the records of proceedings to prepare for defence.

Ibrahim had asked for an adjournment to enable him get the record of proceedings and exhibits as he was just coming into the matter today.

He said that he needed time to also meet with his client.

Facing Acheneje in the dock, Bello warned Acheneje against any further stalling of the proceedings by his constant hiring and firing of counsel at will.

The judge, who did not hide his anger, warned the accused to stop the "hiring and firing" of counsel.

"Since this trial started in 2005, you have changed six counsel, the last one was Mr Olu Otitoju sent by the Legal Aid Council, whom you fired in January.

"This cannot continue, you cannot keep holding us back. We have to make progress. We are being watched by the public.

"Once we resume in July, the matter must continue untill it reaches its logical conclusion this year. So all counsel in thismatter take note," he warned.

The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Mamman Usman (SAN), who did not object to the application of Acheneje's counsel, said that he was ready to resume trial. Also counsel to Danjuma, Mr Hyeladzira Nganjiwa, and that of Zacharia, Malam Musa Tola did not object to the adjournment but counsel to Baba and Salami, Mr Anthony Agbolahan and Deborah Akor had prayed the court to take note of the attitude of hiring and firing of lawyers by Acheneje.


Related stories: Still no justice for the APO SIX killings 

Nigerian police out of control according to Amnesty International

Video report on Nigerian Police accused of illegal killings in Boko Haram incident

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