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Court fixes date to begin trial of detained Miyetti Allah leader

The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed May 29 to begin the trial of detained leader of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Bello Bodejo.

The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo announced the date after dismissing the application for bail of the accused person.

At the last adjourned date, the bail application was fixed for ruling and commencement of trial of Bodejo but the Miyetti Allah leader was absent.

Shortly after the court fixed the date for trial, his counsel, Ahmed Raji (SAN) expressed the readiness of his client to stand trial.

Raji said since the court has ordered expeditious hearingn in the matter, there would be no need to appeal the ruling on his bail for now.

Bodejo was arrested by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) for allegedly establishing an ethnic militia group in Nasarawa.

The group, Kungiya Zaman Lafiya, the DIA alleged, was established to promote terrorism.

Bodejo has been in DIA’s custody in Abuja from where he was arraigned in March on a three-count charge filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) with accusation of violating the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022.

Bodejo has since denied all the charges.

Raji had pleaded with Justice Ekwo to admit his client to bail on various grounds ranging from ill-health to the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

The counsel also asked the court for “an order admitting the defendant to bail on liberal terms pending the hearing and determination of the charges preferred against him.”

Raji predicated the bail request on the ground that Bodejo “suffers from grave ill-health and that the offences are bailable.”

Citing Section 36 of the Nigerian constitution, Raji said his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, adding that the charge against Bodejo did not disclose any crime against him.

Raji informed the court that launching of the group by his client was done in a public place with Police Commissioner and personnel of other security agencies as well as Nasarawa State government officials in attendance.

He described Bodejo as a “patriotic Nigerian citizen who goes about his business within the ambit of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

He added that “Bodejo neither established nor has any involvement with the ethnic militia group as alleged in the charge against him.”

He explained further that the essence of establishing the vigilante company was to provide security services to the members of the society and not to commit any act of terrorism as alleged.

However, the federal government, through its lawyer, Y.A Imana urged the court to reject Bodejo’s bail application on the ground that charges against the defendant borders on threat to national security.

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