Army witnesses contradict selves at cross-examination in Shiites’ suit

Two witnesses of the Nigerian Army yesterday contradicted themselves in a suit between the Federal Government and the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN).

The conflicting statements were made while being cross-examined at a Kaduna High Court presided over by Justice David Shiri Nyom.

One of the witnesses, Brigadier General A.K. Ibrahim, had earlier said he arrived Zaria at 5:30 p.m. on December 12, 2015 when the clash occurred.

But under cross-examination by the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bayero Dari, he said it wasn’t 5:30p.m, but 6:00p.m.

It was the judge’s record, which he read out to the court, that confirmed the time he recorded to be 5:30p.m.

Another witness, who gave his name as Lieutenant Colonel Ali, did not state in a statement he made during the panel of inquiry that the army lost any soldier during the clash in Zaria.

But while in the witness box, he told the court that a soldier died from a mob attack by Shiites’ members.

Under cross-examination, there was also a contradiction in the dates that the army handed over weapons allegedly recovered from the Shiites.

Ali had, during his testimony said the recovered weapons were handed over to police investigators on December 13, 2015, contrary to the prosecution’s submission that they were handed over on February 9, 2016.

He stressed that he would not be surprised if weapons handed over at the later date were different from the ones he was referring to.

Speaking to newsmen outside the court, the DPP said he was happy with the way the case was progressing.

He said: “It was a good day in court for the prosecution. The army witnesses came to testify and the case has taken a new shape.”

When asked to comment on the contradiction, he said they were classified into material and non-material, describing what occurred as falling into the non-material classification.

He said the court will look at the material evidence when the time comes.

“As far as we are concerned, the accused remains innocent until he is proven guilty. The prosecution has failed to make a case against the accused. It is the judge that has the final say,” said the defence counsels, who included Maxwell Kyon.

The case was adjourned to August 8 and 9, when other witnesses are expected to testify.

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