The federal government yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Abuja not to grant bail to a university lecturer and two others arraigned over alleged terrorist activities in Kogi State.
The chief state counsel in the Ministry of Justice, Mrs. N.B. Jones-Nebo, said releasing the suspects on bail would be risky for “unsuspecting members of the public.”
The three accused persons, Muhammed Nazeef Yusuf (PhD), Salami Abdullahi (businessman) and Musa Umar who were arraigned on an eight counts charge bordering on conspiracy and terrorism yesterday argued the bail applications filed during their arraignment on February 3.
Defence counsels Hassan Liman (SAN), James Ocholi (SAN) and Abdul Mohammed told the court that their clients will not do anything to jeopardize the country’s security or suppress evidence against them.
The counsels argued separately that Section 1(2)(b) of the amended Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013 which prescribed capital punishment for terrorism offences, confers discretion on the judge, adding that there is no prima facie evidence against the accused persons.
But Mrs Jones-Nebo argued that the offences border on national security particularly, security of people in Kogi State. She said: “The prima facie case shows that he (Nazeef) buried weapons underground. So far one AK47 rifle and rounds of ammunition have been discovered.”
Meanwhile, Jones-Nebo has informed the court that due to the weight of the evidence against the accused persons, the prosecution intends to protect the identity of the witnesses throughout the trial as provided in the Terrorism Prevention Act. She said the strong influence the lecturer has on the witnesses – some of whom were his students – necessitated the procedure.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole has adjourned the case to February 28 for ruling.
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