AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Justice Hajaratu Gwada of Kaduna High Court on Friday discharged and acquitted 91 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) also known as Shiites, many of whom have been detained in prison since 2015.
IMN counsel, Barrister Maxwell Kyon, told reporters his clients were charged of culpable homicide punishable with death, criminal conspiracy and disturbance of peace.
He said the state failed to proof their case beyond reasonable doubt, hence he filed a no- case submission before Justice Gwada, which was granted.
He lamented the system held the individuals in custody for no case whatsoever for that long, stressing that some of them lost their children, wives, admission in tertiary institution while in custody.
He said Kaduna State must take responsibility of rehabilitating his clients for keeping them in prison for four years for no case.
“The government should engage with us and come out with a figure as compensation for those whose four years in detention at the Correctional Centre has been wasted.
“The government made those people to be arrested and remanded in prison. We want government to take responsibility for the dislocation of these people for four years. Many lost their jobs, some lost admissions in tertiary institutions and I know of one whose wife left while he was in prison,” he said.
On how much was been demanded as compensation for the acquitted IMN members, he said it is not an issue of issuing out a blank figure but each has a peculiar case, making each person affected uniquely.
“Each has a different loss, the government should sit with us to look at the cases individually. We want to believe government will be responsible enough without been pushed by a court order.
“They knew these people were not guilty based on evidences yet they held them in detention. We will pursue whatever case our clients ask us to do,” he added.
“This is the last case pending. The court looked at all the 31 witnesses drawn from police and army, they tendered about 110 evidences. We were able to tell the court that there is nothing linking the suspects to the allegations against them. The court agreed with our no case submission.
“The court was told that the soldiers had already told the IPO that it was a friendly fire from them that killed the deceased, Dan Kaduna whose murder they were tried for,” he said.
In a related development, Engineer Yahaya Gilima who said that he lost five children in the 2015 clashes with the Army and on behalf of IMN presented an award to Barrister Kyon for representing the group well in all their matters.
While presenting the plaque, he said they were proud that the Northern part of Nigeria now boasts of a legal luminary in the class of the late Gani Fawenhinmi and Femi Falana, both senior advocates from the South West.