The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has denied dropping the names of the co-accused in the trial of Wadume, Taraba alleged kidnap kingpin, whose real name is Bala Hamisu.
Malami made the clarification on Friday, according to Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations.
“What Malami’s office did was to sever the charges in view of the unavailability of the soldiers who in their own case needed to be released by the military authorities, as they are undergoing military processes before their release”, Gwandu said.
“The interest of justice requires and legitimately allowed for segmentation of the case in the interest of speedy trail,’’
Gwandu said it was in the interest of justice to accord speedy trial to the accused persons that were readily available to stand trial as against delaying at the expense of other co-accused persons, who in the peculiarity of the case, are not available for immediate arraignment.
““It is a common practice that absence of a co-accused will not constitute impediment to the progress of a case.
“Those available are entitled to fair trial and have their cases determined within a reasonable time as a matter of Constitutional rights.
“”Moreso, looking at the fact that the available accused persons are not to be held responsible for the unavailability of the co-accused persons,” Malami said.
Gwandu said Malami’s office has taken steps to procure the availability of the co-accused.
He said Malami would have them arraigned immediately upon procuring their availability by the military authorities.