Convicted Boko Haram kingpin, Kabiru Umar alias Kabiru Sokoto, has accused agents of the Federal Government of frustrating his efforts to appeal his conviction and sentence.
Recall that a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on December 20, 2013 sentenced Sokoto to life imprisonment for his role in the 2011 Christmas day bomb blast that killed about 44 persons and wounded 75 others at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Madalla, Niger State.
Passing the sentence on the Boko Haram kingpin, Justice Adeniyi Ademola held that he was satisfied that the Federal Government successfully established the culpability of the convict beyond every reasonable doubt, noting that Sokoto had in two earlier separate confessional statements, admitted that he had prior knowledge of the attack.
Justice Ademola further held that throughout the duration of the trial, the convict never showed any remorse for his actions and described him (Sokoto) as “a pathological liar with no regards for the truth”.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, Sokoto filed a notice of appeal before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
In a fresh motion on notice filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by his lawyer, Sheriff Okoh, the convict accused the Comptroller of Prisons and his men of frustrating his attempts to gain access to his lawyer, to enable him perfect his appeal process.
The motion, which has The Comptroller General of Prisons (CGP) and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) as respondents, Sokoto, now being held at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos, wants an order compelling the respondents to allow him access to his lawyer.
He also seeks a declaration that the respondents’s alleged decision to deny him access to his lawyer was a violation of his right to fair hearing, right to counsel and access to justice.
A supporting affidavit deposed to by Okoh alleged that several applications by the lawyer to the CGP seeking an opportunity to have audience with him had always been turned down.
“We have made several person contacts with the 1st defendant (CGP), his men: S. N. Nwanchukwu (PSO), E. O. Ogundele) DCG) among others, at the Nigeria Prisons headquarters, Abuja in a bid to persuade them to permit us to see the applicant, but they kept making us indulge in fruitless returns for approvals from the 2nd respondent (AGF) that has not come for over two years.
“Wherefore, we verily believe that their actions are aimed at ensuring that the applicant’s appeal of his conviction and sentence continues to be frustrated in perpetuity.
“The applicant’s appeal before the Court of Appeal is being delayed as a result of the conduct of the 1st respondent and men under his command and supervision”, Okoh said.
When the case came up for hearing on Thursday, the trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, noted that there was no evidence in court’s file that the respondents were served with processes (court documents) in the case.
He, therefore, directed the applicant’s lawyer to ensure service of the processes on the respondents and return on February 4 for the hearing of the motion.