The Nigeria Army is on the trail of one Jacob Gyang the suspected killer of General Idris Mohammed Alkali (rtd) that stalled the continuation of hearing of the 25 defendants standing trial on alleged involvement in the killing which hearing was transfer to Justice Arum Ashom in the matter.
Joe. K .Gadzama,SAN, Counsel for the prosecution speaking to journalists after court session on Wednesday at the premises of the Jos High court.
The said retired General was said to have been murdered and his corpse dump in a pond in Du, in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State, North Central Nigeria in September 2018.
The accused persons were standing trial before justice Daniel Longji for culpable homicide, punishable by death. However, Justice Longji retired in December 2019 and the case file was reassigned to justice Arum Ashom of High Court 5 prompting the commencement of the matter, denovo.
And because there was an amendment of the charge on the last date, the matter came up on Wednesday for fresh plea from the accused persons who have been to the court and the person that was joined ( the 25th defendant) which led to the amendments .
Consequently, the business on Wednesday was for the plea, the ruling on bail application of some of the accused that have not been granted bail earlier and to hear another pending application for the quashing of the charge against one of the accused persons ( Yakubu Rapp).
On the last date, the court was given the impression that the 25th defendant was in custody.
Nanle Komak, one of the defence counsels
The court was surprised that he was not in court because his plea was supposed to be taken out that day immediately after the amendment. It was for this reason that the matter was adjourned until Wednesday, September 16, 2020.
However, when the court resumed on Wednesday, it was yet another surprise as the 25th defender was not in court again and this time, nobody seems to know his whereabouts as the court was told that service could not be effected on him as court bailiff couldn’t find him at the Jos Correctional Centre where he was said to be in detention.
A development described by J. K Gadzama (SAN) as a “sudden radical twist”.Speaking to journalists after the court session, Gadzama, Counsel for the Prosecution said, “there was a sudden radical twist in the matter.
Someone, Jacob Gyang was arrested and he confessed to the commission of the crime and was supposed to have been brought to court today.
Unfortunately, despite burning the midnight candle and getting prepared to take the ruling and other interlocutory matters and then, hearing, we were told they were not able to serve him against today.
“That they went to the Correctional Centre in Jos but could not find him. Everyone was disappointed.
I wasn’t happy. I came all the way from Abuja to handle this matter but nothing serious transpired today.
The defendants’ Counsels were not happy, the court too was not happy”. When asked if he was suspecting foul play, the learned silk said, “I am not suspecting foul play for now. I can give the police the benefit of doubt but ordinarily, he is not even supposed to be at the Correctional centre until the court orders he be taken there.
“Ordinarily, he supposed to be with the police, except another court or judge has granted another order transferring him to the custody of the Correctional centre, otherwise, the police are supposed to keep him until he is produced in court and he has pleaded to the charge”.
Counsel added that thereafter, the court can decide on the custody the defendant should be taken to until the next adjourned date. Counsel however said that they have decided to see the defendant at the Correctional centre and ensure that he is not only served not just with the hearing notice but with the charge so he can have enough opportunity to retain a counsel of his choice.
On what his reaction would be in the event the defendant is not produced in court again on the next adjourned date, Gadzama said,
” We have a charge against so many defendants (about 25 of them). They are facing trial and the trial will continue.
“The only thing is that we have added a defendant who unlike the other 24 defendants, has confessed that he participated in the commission of the crime.
“You can see why I earlier said there is a a radical twist to the matter. Because he is to tell us to what extent those other defendants participated in the crime and then we can compare what he tells the court and what he has written during investigation as his statement and probably some other circumstances and factors, facts, report of investigation by the police officers who conducted the investigation, then the court would be able to form an opinion”.
One of the defence counsels, Nanle Komak Esq also expressed dismay over the inability to produced the 25th defendant in court. “We were all surprised as nobody seems to know his whereabout”.
Komak is counsel for the 17th defendant (Yakubu Rapp) who is asking that the charge him be squashed because he is not in the charge linking him to the offence.
The matter was adjourned until October 27, 2020 for ruling, the plea, the motion and for hearing.