All the nine, including two women, stood trial in the Kaduna State High Court since September 2016. They were accused of being members of the Islamic Movement, unlawful assembly and intent to disturb the public among others.
In his judgment, Justice Nyoms, said the prosecution didn’t prove any of the charges against any of those standing trial. He described as absurd, the inconsistencies in the case as presented by the witnesses during trial, pointing out a particular case where one person was allegedly arrested by five different police officers at different places and different times for the same offence. It beats the imagination how the same person could have been simultaneously arrested in five different places by five different police officers.
When he turned to the issue of alleged unlawful acts by those standing trial, he pointed at the severe defects in the evidence put up by the prosecution. Citing the example of an exhibit of a photograph of the alleged suspects holding flags with religious inscriptions suggesting that they were members of the Islamic Movement, thereby belonging to an unlawful society, the judge noted that the defence was able to prove that the photograph was taken by the cameraman called to snap them in police station, as admitted by the cameraman in his evidence. He was never at the point of arrest, and therefore, could not have depicted them carrying out any unlawful acts.
As a result, the judge discharged and acquitted all of them.
This recent favourable judgement adds to the number of landmark cases in which the government has failed to convict any member of the Islamic Movement for any crime in various high courts across the country since the Zaria massacre of December 2015.
So far, hundreds of members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have been discharged and acquitted for alleged crimes including that of culpable homicide among others after proper trials in courts.
The government has resorted to employment of delay tactics in the prosecution of the remaining cases left in court including the one trying the leader of the Islamic Movement, Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky through deliberate attempts at frustrating the legal team of the Islamic Movement, led by Mr. Femi Falana, SAN and Mr. Maxwell Kyon, who have so far successfully defended and won all the cases against the government.