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SABIYU GARBA v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

(2019) LPELR-48007(CA)

In The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

On Wednesday, the 3rd day of July, 2019

CA/YL/191C/2017


Before Their Lordships

CHIDI NWAOMA UWA Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

JAMES SHEHU ABIRIYI Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria

ABDULLAHI MAHMUD BAYERO Justice of The Court of Appeal of Nigeria


Between

SABIYU GARBA - Appellant(s)

AND

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on criminal law and procedure.
FACTS:
This appeal is against the judgment delivered on 9th May, 2016 in the Federal High Court, Yola Judicial Division holden at Yola.

At the Federal High Court, the Appellant and seven others were tried, convicted for conspiracy to obstruct and obstruction of officers of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) from carrying out their lawful duty contrary to Sections 14 (b) and 49 (a) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act.

The Respondent's case against the Appellant was very simple and short. According to the Respondent, on 21st March, 2012, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) officers went out on an operation from Yola to a village called Loko and were attacked by a mob in the village. In the process two officers of the NDLEA were killed. The Appellant and four others were arrested by the police and soldiers.

In his defence, the Appellant stated that on the 21st March, 2012 he was at home with his wife and children. They heard people shouting and running. His younger brother came running into the house. The Appellant asked him what was going on. The younger brother said he did not know. He (Appellant) then came out of the house and saw people running. He asked somebody and the person said "Boko Haram." The village was in "chaos." He went back into the house and told his wife and mother to enter their rooms while he looked for his younger children that he had not seen. Then he saw soldiers. As he was about to turn a soldier threatened to shoot him. He told the soldier that he did not know what was happening. The soldiers asked him if any people had passed there. The Appellant said no. He was arrested despite the fact that he showed a bandage used in covering a cut from an appendicitis operation he had undergone. They were brought to Yola NDLEA office.

After considering the evidence adduced by the parties and addresses of learned counsel, the Court below found the Appellant, and the others, guilty on both counts, convicted and sentenced him to a prison term of twenty (20) years for conspiracy to obstruct officers of the NDLEA from discharging their lawful duties and another twenty (20) years prison term for the offence of obstruction of NDLEA officers from carrying out their lawful duties in the process of which two officers lost their lives and two others were seriously injured. Both sentences were to run concurrently.

Dissatisfied with the judgment of the Federal High Court, the appellant appealed to the Court of Appeal.

ISSUES:
The Court determined the appeal on the following issues as formulated by the appellant:
1) Having regard to the evidence adduced by the Appellant and the entire circumstances and the approach adopted by the trial Court in this case, in delivering the Judgment, whether the trial Court was right in convicting and sentencing the Appellant as charged.
2) Whether the trial Court was not wrong in law, when it declared the statement of the Appellant as confessional statement in spite of all evidence led at the trial within trial session.
3.) Whether the Respondent proved the case of  conspiracy and obstruction of officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency in carrying out their duty beyond reasonable doubt against the Appellant as charged, as required by law to ground the conviction and sentence of the Appellant.

DECISION/HELD:
In conclusion, the Court dismissed the appeal.


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