By Olalekan Awojodu
An official of the Department of State Services(DSS) Mohammed Bashir on Tuesday told a Federal High Court, Abuja, how a Fulani Herdsman, Bello Haruna and his gang lured former Benue State Comptroller of Prisons, Alhaji Musa Tijani Dalhatu into killed him after his family paid ransom for his kidnap.
It turned out that Bello Haruna was employed by Alhaji Dalhatu to tend to his cows. But the herdsman connived with other herders, lured him into a bush, kidnapped and later killed the late Comptroller.
While testifying before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja as the third Prosecution Witness, Mohammed a Forensic and Data analyst, armed with a video evidence of their confessions confirmed that Dalhatu was lured from his home by the first defendant (Bello Haruna), his employee of five years, who rears his cattle for him.
The SSS told the court how he was assigned to handle the case when it happened in 2018 with a colleague, Sadiq who speaks both Hausa and Fulani language fluently. He said upon analyses, they found out that the only number that communicated with the late Dalhatu prior to his movement was that of the first defendant.
Upon further enquiry he said his team deployed its technical equipment, uncovered and eventually arrested the first defendants and his alleged accomplices.
According to the witness: “After a painstaking interrogation, Bello disclosed that the second defendant (Shehu) is his associate and we swung into action by effecting his arrest around Jeere In Kaduna State.
“After the confession of the first defendant to have stage-managed the abduction and kidnap of the deceased, the second defendant also confessed to participating in the abduction of Alhaji Tijani and alongside five others which include one Mustapha Sadiq and Aliyu Haliru took him hostage and demanded N20 million and later N10 million.
“But the family of the victim was able to raise N2 million and Two Hundred Thousand as ransom and was paid to the abductors only for the master mind, Haruna Bello, to seize the deceased for fear of being exposed. They eventually killed him and his corpse was dumped in a thick forest between Kwali and Abaji Area Council,”
According to the witness, all efforts by a combined team of men of the Nigerian Army and AEPB officials to recover his body were unsuccessful.
The prosecution, A. Adewunmi-Aluko and Victor Ejelonu applied that the exhibit C1 and C2 (Video evidence) be tendered before the court and there was no objection from the counsel to the 1st defendant, Chris Ohene.
Meantime, the trial Judge, Binta Nyako has adjourned till October 19, 2021 for defendants to open their defence.
“Since defence counsel has refused to cross-examine, I implore the two counsels to tie their defence for easy streamline or separately if you choose,” Justice Nyako held.