From Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos
The abscondment of two suspects on Monday stalled the arraignment of a Jos based Miner, Alh Abdullahi Adamu alias Dan-China and 23 others before a Jos Federal High Court.
The suspects, Lawal Hassan and Abdullahi Inusa, 4th and 9th accused persons were among the 25 persons (including 15 Chinese nationals) arrested and granted administrative bail by the Police after the federal government accused them of involving in illegal mining in Zurak, Plateau state.
Our correspondent reports that Dan-China was arrested on Jan. 25, 2018 and ever since has been in detention at the office of the NSA When the case came up for mention before the presiding Judge, Justice Musa Kurya, the two accused persons were absent when all the accused persons were called out to take their pleas.
Mr Aminu Alilu, the Prosecution Counsel, was stoned and expressed his surprise over the disappearance of the two suspects.
“My Lord, we are so sorry that two out of the 25 accused persons, who have been on Police administrative bail aside Alh Adamu have absconded.
“We are indeed surprise by this development because all of them were mandated to appear before your lordship this morning to take their pleas.
“We don’t know why they are not in court today. We are constraint to go ahead with the arraignment since they are all jointly charged, ’’ the prosecution counsel lamented.
Alilu said that in such predicament, “we are left with only two options: to quickly amend the charges for us to continue or we apply for a short adjournment to enable us go after them (absconded persons) and bring them before your Lordship.’’
According to him, the duo could be arraigned separately on a date convenient to the court.
Responding, Mr Paul Erokoro (SAN), the defence Counsel to all the 26 accused persons, also expressed shocked over the disappearance of the two accused persons.
Erokoro said, “we are so surprise too on why they are not here in court today. I will apply that the two names be struck out to enable us continue with the business of the day, while the two can be arraignment separately as the prosecution suggested.’’
But the Judge said that it would be difficult for him to separate them since they were jointly charged and more so for the smoothness of the case.
Kuray said that since they have not been formally arraigned before him, he couldn’t commit all the accused persons to prison custody but that the status quo must remain till when all of them are properly arraigned before him.
The Judge then adjourned the case to March 28, 2018 for proper arraignment.
our Corespondent reports that while the 25 other accused persons were some times in last September arrested and released on administrative bail by the police on the order of the NSA,
Even after the adjournment of the case, his (Adamu) Counsels were not allowed to come near him as he was quickly whisked away by heavily armed security personnel, who allegedly headed for Abuja.