Nigeria: Controversy Trails Release of Notorious Katsina Kidnapper

Controversy has trailed the release of the two notorious abductors of the renowned Qur'an reciter, Ahmed Suleiman, whose security agents aided to secure his release from captivity.

Mr Suleiman was kidnapped in March, last year, along Sheme-Kankara road in Katsina State. Security operatives apprehended his abductors and prosecuted them at the Katsina State High court.

A member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Katsina State chapter, Yusuf Dauran, who was among those arrested over his alleged involvement in the illegal bail of the two self-confessed kidnappers, gave a graphic picture of what actually transpired.

Mr Dauran, who served as legal client for the kidnappers, filed an application for bail on behalf of the duo before the Katsina State High Court '9', but to his surprise, the kidnappers were released on bail, even as the court is yet to hold a sitting to hear his argument on the matter.

While briefing journalists in Katsina, the Assistant Secretary of the state chapter of the NBA, Ibrahim Babangida, alleged that more confusing to them was how the state's Chief Judge, Musa Abubakar, signed the bail documents for the release of the kidnappers without reading the bail ruling delivered by the judge of High Court '9', who presided over the matter.

The NBA also alleged that when it was discovered that the released kidnappers had jumped bail, the Department of Security Service (DSS), Katsina State command, arrested their member for a crime he did not commit.

The association frowned at the continued detention of their member, who, for the past two months, has not been properly charged to court.

Forged documents

When contacted, the Chief Registrar of the State High Court, Kabir Shuaibu, noted that the Chief Judge was misled into signing the bail documents.

He explained that the State High Court '9' was yet to sit on the matter to decide on the bail application before it, but regretted that the bail conditions were forged by some members of staff within the ranks of the court, and the forged documents were submitted to the Chief Judge.

Mr Shuaibu said the Chief Judge signed the bail documents, which included details of a court ruling, names and photographs of sureties and a note from the District Head of Kankara.

He, however, noted that the Chief Judge had set up a committee to investigate the forgery that led to the release of the two kidnappers on bail, and the committee has submitted its report, which indicted some members of staff of the court.

The SSS has raised concerns over the inability of the court and the counsel to the accused to produce the kidnappers or their sureties.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the release of the notorious kidnappers has caused a stir in the security architecture of the state, at a time when armed banditry and kidnapping are taking an unprecedented toll on lives, livelihoods and public safety in Katsina State.

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