The Upper Sharia Court 4 in Anguwan Jaki, Bauchi State yesterday, was thrown into a battle field as a mob attacked seven suspected homosexuals, including a secondary school principal brought to court for trial.
The incident happened at about 1: 44 pm, forcing the security personnel to rescue the endangered seven by firing gunshots in the air and using canisters to disperse the mob.
The suspects are Ibrahim Marafa, Shehu Adamu, Yusuf Adamu, Aliyu Dalhatu, Abdulmalik Tanko, Usman Sabo and Hazif Sabo Abubakar. The angry crowd hurled stones at the van carrying them as it sped dangerously back to prison. A few people sustained injured in the process.
The suspects are facing trial for allegedly engaging in gay activities, an action that contravenes the Islamic laws, which the state operates. Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Haruna Mohammed, said that the suspects were arrested by the Bauchi State Sharia Commission. The atmosphere around the court was charged as the suspects came out of the court to mount the Hilux van which conveyed them to court.
Shortly after they filed into the van, the crowd in the court premises started abusing and pelted them with stones. The heavily armed prison wardens had to disperse the crowd by shooting into the air. There was pandemonium as the Sharia Judge, Yakubu Aliyu, and reporters as well as lawyers scampered for safety.
Earlier, inside the rowdy court, counsel to the Sharia Commission, Danlami Ayuba, told the court that one of the suspects was identified as Ibrahim Marafa, the principal of a government secondary school. When the case was slated for hearing of witnesses, counsel to the suspect, Abdul Musa, pleaded that he was not ready and sought for bail for his client to enable them study the charges. The bail application was opposed by the counsel to the Sharia Commission.
The trial judge, El-Yaqub Aliyu refused to grant the bail application and adjourned the suit to Monday, January 27, to enable the prosecutors present their witnesses.
Similarly, the State Sharia Commission paraded six other suspects. When their case was mentioned, the Judge cautioned the Sharia commission counsel to ensure that they had proper evidence on the accused persons before arraigning them in court. He decried a situation where an accused had pleaded guilty of the offence he committed four years ago and had repented but was brought to court after he had repented. Quoting sections of the Hadith he said the accused remained innocent until proper evidence is established that he had committed the offence again.
Counsel to the Sharia commission presented two witnesses against two of the suspects but under cross examination, none of the witnesses said he saw them while they were committing the alleged offence.
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