The Federal High Court sitting in a judgement at the Wawa Cantonment in Kainji, Niger State, on Friday, freed 475 persons accused of links to Boko Haram. The freed suspects are to be sent to the governments of their states of origin to take them through a process of proper rehabilitation.
According to Mr. Salihu Othman Isah, Special Adviser to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the suspects were arrested in different states and detained at Wawa Cantonment.
He stated that their detention was based on the information that they were members of Boko Haram, a terrorist group that is under prescription.
The court freed the suspects because the prosecution counsel was unable to make any charge stick on them due to insufficient evidence. The suspects were released on an exparte motion pursuant to Section 35 (4) of the Constitution.
The court directed the state governments to provide for the released persons rehabilitation at any appropriate centre before being released to their families. In addition, the court ruled that the mentally deranged among the suspects should be provided appropriate treatment at mental health facilities.
One of those freed by the court was Lubabatu Yakubu, a female arrested in 2014 by the Department of Security Services (DSS) in Numan, Adamawa State, two days after her marriage and subsequent divorce from her Boko Haram husband. Lubabatu was accused of affiliation to Boko Haram husband on account of her marriage.
Another suspect, a young mother of a three-month-old baby, Mariam Mohammed, was lured into the Boko Haram sect and taken to Sambisa Forest by her elder brother and married off to his friend at the age of 11. She was arrested by soldiers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in 2014 while trying to flee the Boko Haram enclave in the Sambisa Forest.
Equally freed were twin brothers, Taye and Kehinde Hamza, who hail from Oyo State. The brothers, who are auto mechanics based in Bauchi, were arrested by the DSS at their workshop in 2010 for servicing a vehicle owned by a Boko Haram member.
The court, on Friday, sentenced 35-year old Haruna Yahaya to an additional 15 years imprisonment for being the mastermind of the Chibok girls' abduction, following his sentence, on Monday, to a 15-year jail term.
The presiding judge ordered that the two sentences imposed on Yahaya, an indigene of Potiskum in Yobe State, will run consecutively, meaning he will spend 15 years in prison.