October 13th has been fixed by Justice Arum Ashom as the date of a definite hearing of the case involving Nine men, Mathew Daniel, Jurbe Zamani, Dapar Sunday, Bernard Francis, Daniel Bulus, Yakubu John, Stephen Ishaku, Yohanna Marshal, and a minor, for the August 14 killing of 22 travellers at Rukuba Road, Plateau state.
The unfortunate travellers were ambushed while returning from the annual Islamic “dhikr prayer” in Bauchi State, enroute Ikare, Ondo State.
The Prosecution Counsel, Muleng Alex, told the presiding Judge the defendants were responsible for the Rukuba Road massacre, however, the defendants pleaded not guilty.
Mrs Alex said because the defendants were arrested by security operatives with knives, daggers and swords “and so, had committed an offence contrary to and punishable by death, according to section 188 and 189 of penal code law of culpable homicide.”
She said since they pleaded not guilty to the offence, “we hereby seek the leave of the Court for a short date to prove our case against the accused persons.”
“Consequently, they should be committed to prison custody as we seek for a new date to come before your lordship for a definite hearing of this case,” Ms Alex pleaded.
The defence counsel, Yakubu Bawa, denied the prosecution counsel’s claim that the motion had been served on all accused persons.
Mr Bawa, who is also the Plateau chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, said, “from our records, it has only been effected on one person instead of all.”
He added that he was “opposing the application to the commutal of the minor, who is 17 years old, to prison custody as we seek to replace him with any of his guardians in accordance with provisions of the law.
“We are making this passionate appeal to this honourable court on the sixth defendant, a minor in accordance with Section 175 of the Criminal Justice law of 2018,” he said.
Mr Bawa explained that they were opposing Mrs Alex’s application because “the minor has filed his defence which is dated September 24 and filed on the same date.”
The next definite hearing on the case has been fixed for 13th of October.