The ongoing trial of the alleged kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume at the Federal High Court Abuja was on Wednesday stalled due to the absence of many defendants, just as the Ministry of Justice announced the taking over of the case from the Police.
Recall that on January 21, the Nigerian police had arraigned Mr Wadume alongside 19 others before the Federal High Court Abuja over alleged kidnapping, terrorism, and dealing with prohibited arms.
During the hearing on Wednesday, a senior lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Magaji Labaran told the court that the AGF has taken over the prosecution of the case, pursuant to his power under Section 174(2) of the Constitution.
According to Mr Labaran, when the case file was handed to his office the previous day, he noted that only six out of the 20 defendants were present in court.
He, therefore, sought a short adjournment to enable him put things in order and liaise with the arresting and investigating agencies to ensure that all the defendants are brought to court.
Lawyers to the defendants, including Y. D. Dagana, M. I. Tola and Yakubu Philemon did not object to the request for an adjournment.
Mr Philemon, who represented the 16 to 19 defendants, said his clients were absent in court because of the current inter-state lockdown.
Justice Binta Nyako adjourned till June 8 for arraignment.