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ISA BELLO v. FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

(2018) LPELR-44465(SC)

In The Supreme Court of Nigeria

On Friday, the 11th day of May, 2018

SC.773/2014


Before Their Lordships

OLABODE RHODES-VIVOUR Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

MARY UKAEGO PETER-ODILI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

JOHN INYANG OKORO Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

AMIRU SANUSI Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria

SIDI DAUDA BAGE Justice of The Supreme Court of Nigeria


Between

ISA BELLO - Appellant(s)

AND

FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA - Respondent(s)


Other Citations

; ;


Summary

INTRODUCTION:
This appeal borders on Criminal Law and Procedure.
FACTS:
This is an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal, Jos Division, affirming the decision of the Federal High Court, Jos, Plateau State.

According to the prosecution, sometime in January 2010, in Jos environs, Plateau State, a crisis erupted, culminating in attacks and counter attacks between the Biroms and Fulanis. On 8/3/2010, during the crisis, houses were burnt in Dogo Nhauwa, people were maimed and some killed as a result of attacks on them. About that time in Mangu Local Government Area and the environs, all the accused persons were seen together armed with dangerous weapons. Soldiers on security alert accosted the accused persons and shots were fired at each other between the accused persons and the soldiers. As a result of the shooting, one person among the Accused persons was shot dead and one soldier was injured from shots fired by the accused persons and he was later treated at JUTH, Plateau State. The accused persons were arrested together with their weapons and taken to the police Station. They were later arraigned before the trial Court on a three-count Charge of conspiracy, possession of firearms and acts of terrorism, contrary to and punishable under Section 518 (5) of the Criminal Code Act and Section 15 (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act 2004.

At the trial, the Prosecution called five Witnesses and tendered fifty-seven Exhibits, including Dane guns, bows and arrows, etc, and the Statements of the Appellant and other Accused Persons to the Police, as Exhibits A1-A14, wherein they had confessed to committing some of the said offences charged against them. None of the Accused Persons, including Appellant, testified in their defence but they called one witness, Mohammed Hassan, the leader of his community, called Hardo, Head of Fulani, and he testified that he was informed of an attack by Berom people, and when they were surrounded by some people, who started burning their houses, he advised the Accused Persons to escape to a secure place. They met Soldiers while trying to escape and were stopped. The Soldiers shot at them. He said he was shot but survived, and that the Accused persons were then arrested. He explained that they were herdsmen, and had the guns for the protection of their cattle, and that none of them used the guns.

The learned trial Judge did not believe the accused persons and in his judgment, convicted them as charged. The Appellant, who was the tenth Accused Person, was sentenced to two years imprisonment without an option of fine in Count 1, and ten year's imprisonment without option of fine in Court III. Appellant's appeal to the Court of Appeal was unsuccessful, hence, the appeal to the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
The issue for determination in the appeal is:
"Whether the Court of Appeal was right to affirm the decision of the trial Court."

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


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