The Kaduna State Government on Tuesday arraigned another batch of 91 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) before a Kaduna High Court, seeking death sentence for the accused.
The government had on April 21 arraigned 50 members of the sect on similar charges.
They were among the 266 sect members arrested during the Shiite/Army clash between Dec. 12 and Dec 14, 2015 in Zaria.
The Shi’a group, Islamic Movement in Nigeria, says over hundreds of its members were killed and secretly buried by soldiers during the clash.
The Kaduna State government said 347 bodies were buried by the army and the state government in the Mando area of Zaria.
NAN reports that 256 of other Shiites arrested by the army are facing charges that attract death sentence, while 10 others are facing other charges in different courts in the state.
They were arraigned on a five-count charge for criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace and wrongful restrain.
Dari Bayero, who led the prosecution, told Justice Hajara Gwadah that the accused persons were being charged “pursuant to Sections 97, 102, 106, 221 and 256 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State.
“My Lord the charge before you is for mention. We humbly apply that the names of the accused persons be called out for identification.
“My Lord the 1st, 13th, 34th, 39th, 57th , 66th and 70th accused persons are not in court and are absent.
“They were released on bail and are aware of this date particularly the accused person No. 57 who we have proof of service on.
“My Lord the 1st accused person was released on bail to one Ibrahim Haruna who is Resident at Zaria.
“My Lord we hereby apply for a bench warrant against the 57th accused person.
“My Lord same is also applied against all the accused persons that are absent. I also apply for a short date for further arraignment.“
On his part, Festus Okoye, who led the defence team, said the prosecution had not served any of the accused persons with the charge since the case was filed on March 22, 2016.
“My Lord our first application is that the prosecution should serve the charges on all the accused persons.
“My Lord, the application for bench warrant against the accused persons that are not before the court is not proper.
“My Lord the 1st accused and his surety were not served with a copy of this charge and hearing notice and thus, are not aware that the matter comes up today.
“The 13th accused person was released because he was critically ill. There is also no evidence that he was served with the charge or hearing notice.
“The 39th and 70th accused persons were released on bail because they are minors and were not served against today. I don’t have information on the 57th accused person.”
The defence counsel requested the court to order the prosecution to serve the accused persons that were not in court and their sureties.
After listening to the submissions, the Judge issued a bench warrant against the 57th accused person.
“Bench warrant against 57th accused person is hereby granted. Accused persons are to be served personally.
“Case adjourned to June 1, 2016 for arraignment,” Mr. Gwadah declared.