An Abia state pharmacist, Solomon Akuma, who has been detained since his arrest in 2020 for saying he would hire a Russian sniper to take out the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), was released on Thursday.
Akuma had said he would kill Buhari and his former chief of staff, the late Abba Kyari, in response to a tweet that asked: “If $1 million hits your account, your next move.”
Following his tweet, he (Akuma) was arrested by security officers and taken to the Kuje Correctional Center in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, before being transferred to the Suleja Medium Security Custody Center, Niger State, on December 31, 2022.
Meanwhile, the Federal Capital Territory Court of Appeal, Abuja, ordered the immediate release of Akuma, a 30-year-old pharmacist, who is on trial on a trumped-up charge bordering on terrorism through his tweet.
The three-man panel in its ruling on Thursday ordered the Nigerian Correctional Services to release the young man after spending nearly three years in custody.
Remember that on November 22, 2021, Judge Giwa-Ogunbanjo, while handing down her judgment on the matter, annulled the case as flawed.
The court said that there was no valid charge before the court and the matter was not prosecuted diligently.
He indicated that the file will be returned to the Director of the Public Ministry in the Federal Attorney General’s Office to take further action and the matter was scheduled for Friday, December 17, 2021, for the hearing of the request to discharge the charge. accused of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
However, the judge allowed the application of an amended charge and the vacancy of the sentence presented by the prosecution’s lawyer to take prominence when he asked the defendant to plead guilty, adding that there was an amended charge before the court.
But when the court recorder proceeded to read the amended charge and asked Akuma (defendant) whether he was guilty or not, the defendant fell silent.
Defense attorney Emmanuel Ukaegbu, filing an objection to the amended charge, said his client would not plead guilty because he had not seen the amended charge.
The attorney said it would not be appropriate for him to plead guilty without going through the charges.
He insisted that his client must see the charge filed against him before pleading guilty.
At this point, the trial judge gave the defense 10 minutes to advise and consult with the defendant, who was in the dock, and convince him to plead guilty.
But Ukaegbu stood his ground, insisting that even a full day would not be enough for him and his client to review the amended charge.
The defense lawyer applied to the court for an adjournment due to the lack of clarity of the case and it was granted.
On April 4, 2022, Judge Ogunbanjo announced her withdrawal from the case over allegations of bias.
The judge was charged with showing likely bias against the defendant in a motion with notice marked FHC/ABJ/CR/97/2020 filed through defense counsel and was asked to recuse herself.
According to the lawsuit, “The Honorable Court’s refusal to enter the proper consequential order to release me and release me from custody led to my unlawful detainment.