The Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal has affirmed the September 30, 2015 judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos which convicted three men of participating in acts of terrorism and belonging to the outlawed Boko Haram sect.
The lower court judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba, who pronounced the convicts guilty, had sentenced the three of them to a prison term of 25 years each.
The convicts are Ali Mohammed, Adamu Karumi and Ibrahim Usman.
They were arraigned in November 2013 along with 14 others before Justice Buba, who found them guilty in September 2014 and sentenced them to a prison term of 25 years each.
But displeased with their conviction and imprisonment, the convicts subsequently approached the Court of Appeal seeking to overturn the judgment.
But the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, which charged them to court and secured their convictions, said in a statement by its Public Relations Officers, Mrs. Bola Akingbade, that their appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal for lacking in merit.
According to the ministry, the convicts had contended that they were charged and convicted under an inapplicable law.
They had also contended that the 25 years imprisonment imposed on them was excessive and urged the higher court to reverse their conviction.
But the appellate court refused their prayers.
Mohammed, Karumi and Usman were arraigned on eight counts in November 2013 before Justice Buba along with 14 other suspected Boko Haram members.
Those charged with them were Bala Haruna, Idris Ali, Mohammed Murtala, Kadiri Mohammed and Mustapha Daura.
Others were Abba Duguri, Sanni Adamu, Danjuma Yahaya and Musa Audu and Mati Daura, Farouk Haruna, Abdullahi Azeez, Ibrahim Bukar and Zula Diani.
But in the course of trial, the then Lagos State Attorney-General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, had by nolle prosequi discontinued criminal proceedings against 13 of the suspects, leaving only Mohammed, Karumi, Usman and Haruna.
In his judgment on September 30, 2014, Justice Buba however discharged and acquitted Haruna but convicted Mohammed, Karumi and Usman and sentenced them to 25 years imprisonment each.
The convicts were tried for acts of terrorism which the state said they carried out on March 21, 2013 at Plot 5, Road 69, Lekki Phase I Housing Estate, and No. 24, Oyegbeni St., Ijora-Oloye, Apapa-Iganmu, Lagos.
They were said to have been caught in possession of three packets of explosive construction pipes, 15 detonators, and 11 AK47 rifles with 30 rounds of live ammunition.
The other items said to be found in their possession were 200 rounds of 7.6 millimetres live ammunition, two suitcases containing explosives, and a water container filled with explosives.
According to the prosecution, the convicts violated Sections 13(2) and 17(b) of the Terrorism Act 2013.
They were also pronounced guilty of violating Sections 1, 8, 27 (1) (a) and (b) of the Firearms (special provisions) Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
Credit : Punch