Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has faulted the ruling of the Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja, which sentenced Taraba-based kidnap kingpin, Hamisu Bala, aka Wadume to only seven years imprisonment.
HURIWA noted that Wadume and Anambra-born kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, committed a similar crime, and wondered why the former was only jailed for seven years.
Evans was recently handed a 21-year jailed term by Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court and HURIWA described the ruling as appropriate.
The rights group is therefore demanding that the Police authority must initiate fresh prosecution against Wadume and his co-conspirators over the murder of some police operatives.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The fresh conviction of Evans, a kidnap kingpin is salutary but when compared to the Taraba kidnapping kingpin, Wadume, the judgment from the Federal High Court is a mockery of the judiciary and the entire wheel of justice in Nigeria.
“The judiciary is allegedly aiding kidnapping because whilst Evans offences attracted far heavier sanctions which we are not particularly opposed to, Wadume, who was arraigned for exactly the same crime of kidnapping, amongst others got lighter punishment after the years of secrecy that shrouded his trial.
“In this situation where the same offences attracted different punishments because of the individuals involved, HURIWA is forced to believe that Nigeria’s judiciary has been exposed to ridicule.
“This is because there is no justification anywhere for the injustice done in the case of Wadume, whereas we as civil rights members who are fully aware of the danger of kidnapping are pleased with the handling of the case of Evans. It is the case of Jacob I love, Esau I hate even though the Jacob in this instance – Wadume – is treacherous even above the Esau in this case.
“The judiciary should be dispassionate and no respecter of persons. The Lady of Justice is supposed to be blindfolded and not reckon with religious sentiments but it is unfortunate that certain actions of some judges have removed the blindfold on the Lady of Justice in Nigeria, serving their kinsmen lighter sentences and their foes grave and unjustifiable jail terms or persistent adjournments and languishing in the dungeons of the law enforcement agencies.
“We don’t want to believe that the sentencing of Evans to prolonged imprisonment is probably because of his place of origin giving that as human rights crusaders we are in support of the application of the death penalty for armed kidnapping but the reason for the slap on the wrists given to Wadume is despicable and absolutely awkward.
“HURIWA unequivocally calls for the retrial of Wadume and asks that no self-respecting person should offer himself to enlist in the Nigeria Police Force since the lives of three policemen were allegedly wasted by Wadume.
“And going by the skewed judgement of Justice Nyako, it is apparent that the loss of lives of three persons who may be the breadwinners of their families doesn’t matter to the judiciary or rather the office of the Federal Attorney General and minister of justice who may have framed weak charges which offend the expectation of the citizens on the Justice minister who should be the upholder of justice and nothing else.
“That verdict in Abuja on the Taraba kidnapping kingpin is absolutely treacherous and if the reason is because of the deliberately distorted charges with lesser sentence framed by the prosecutors then President Muhammadu Buhari needs to sack the federal Attorney General and minister of justice with immediate effect.
“Alas! The judiciary has been captured by the executive arm of government! The Nigeria Bar Association and other allied bodies must not look on or pretend not to be aware of this sham as well as this unacceptable verdict in the case of the Taraba kidnapping kingpin being served in the courtrooms.”