FG charges Miyetti Allah leader for terrorism

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

The Federal Government has charged President, Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore Mallam Bello Bodejo for terrorism.

He was first arrested and detained on January 23 after he launched a vigilante group with over 1000 members.

The Defence Intelligence Agency, (DIA) is currently holding him.

Sources within the international community told Irohinoodua that the efforts of the Federal Government in taking decisive actions by nipping the formation of the vigilante in the bud was courageous and impressive.

“If he had been allowed to do it, it would have withered down the authority of the state. It would also give other ethnic groups then license to do the same” a diplomatic source told Irohinoodua.

He describe the efforts of President Bola Tinubu as “bold and timely.”

Bodejo was accused of establishment of a vigilante group called Kungiya Zaman Lafiya, launched by Miyetti Allah in Nasarawa State.

He wanted the group to combat banditry, cattle rustling, and insecurity.

At the event of the 1,144-member all Fulani outfit on January 17, 2024, Bodejo said he aimed to address challenges such as banditry, cattle rustling, and various forms of insecurity prevalent in Nasarawa State.

To fight banditry requires the use of arms which presupposes that his group had wanted to acquire arms of they had not done so already.

The Attorney General of the Federation filed a motion seeking to prolong his detention pending investigation and arraignment.

Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the government’s permission to detain Bodejo for 15 days, ordering either the filing of charges or his release.

Miyetti Allah had filed a counter affidavit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights.

During court proceedings, the prosecution confirmed filing charges against Bodejo for establishing an unauthorized ethnic militia group, deemed prejudicial to national security under the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

The Federal Government said Bodejo’s conduct was “prejudicial to national security and public safety and punishable under Section 29 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.”

Bodejo’s lawyer sought bail pending arraignment but his request was countered by the prosecution citing national security concerns.

The Federal Government’s lawyer stated, “We pray this court will dismiss the application of the defendant because it is a matter that touches on national security”.

The court adjourned to March 22 for ruling on the bail application, while on Wednesday, members of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore staged a protest outside the Federal High Court in Abuja, demanding Bodejo’s unconditional release. They criticized the DIA’s failure to adhere to court orders and expressed concerns over Bodejo’s prolonged detention without access to his family.

They unfurled a large banner featuring a prominent image of Bodejo accompanied by the plea “Free Bello Bodejo.” Predominantly comprising women, stood with placards in hand, lining the road.

Speaking on behalf of the demonstrators, Kabir Matazu condemned the Defence Intelligence Agency’s disregard for court orders mandating Bodejo’s trial or release.

“In a democratic society, respect for the rule of law is the building block for democracy to thrive.” Matazu emphasized. “You cannot arbitrarily arrest and detain an individual without a charge against him.”

Matazu expressed dismay that Bodejo’s family and acquaintances had not been allowed to visit him since his arrest.

Highlighting Bodejo’s clean record, Matazu argued, ” He is not a criminal. He has no criminal record. He will not run away and leave this country. So, if not because of the failure of our security agencies, there are bandits in the forest who they should have gone after.”

Matazu urged Nigerian security agencies to promptly release Bodejo unconditionally, echoing the sentiments of the protesters gathered from various parts of the country.

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