Justice Evoh Chukwu of an Abuja Federal High Court on Wednesday threatened to discharge five police officers charged with killing Boko Haram founder, Mohammed Yusuf, for want of diligent prosecution.
The judge made the threat following the submission of prosecution counsel, Austin Atubu, that the witness expected to give evidence at the proceedings was not in court.
Atubu had informed the court that the witness, a police officer, had developed “severe hypertension” and was likely to recover by the middle of April before he could come and testify.
He, therefore, prayed the court for an adjournment to enable the witness to be in court, a request which was not opposed by defence counsel, Cyril Nkpe.
Reacting to the submission, Chukwu expressed displeasure with the attitude of the prosecution team in the matter.
He, therefore, ordered all counsel involved in the trial of the officers to, henceforth, be diligent in handling their briefs or risk the case being struck out.
Chukwu said: “This is the last time that the court will be condoning any delay from a counsel in this matter.
“I will strike out the case and discharge the accused next time this happens.”
He then adjourned the case to March 24 and March 25 “for hearing and continuation of the trial”.
Five policemen – ACP J.B. Abang, ACP A.A Akeera, CSP Mohammed Ahmadu, ASP Mada Buba and Sergeant Adamu Gado – were charged with the murder of Yusuf.
The Boko Haram founder was allegedly killed in 2009 in Maiduguri, Borno State by some police officers to whom was handed over by some Nigerian Army personnel, who arrested him and some of his associates for alleged insurgency.