Friday Olokor, Jos
A popular businessman, Alhaji Abdullahi Adamu, alias Dana-China, was on Wednesday re-arrested by security agents after a Federal High Court in Jos, Plateau State, granted him and 23 others, including 15 Chinese nationals, bail.
The drama threw the court into confusion as some of his supporters discussed it in hushed tones.
The defendants are standing trial for alleged illegal mining.
The Federal Government had arrested Adamu and 24 others and arraigned them before Justice Musa Kurya on four counts of illegal mining activities at Zurak, in the Wase Local Government of Plateau State.
According to the prosecution, the accused had between 2015 and 2017 carried out some illegal mining activities and disposing of the minerals found in the area.
The prosecution said the offences contravened sections 3 (6) and 1(8)(b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of Nigeria, 2004, and were punishable under Section 131 (a)(d) of the Nigeria Minerals and Mining Act, 2007.
When the case came up for mention on Wednesday, the prosecuting counsel, Ali Alilu, asked the court to read out the charges to the accused for them to take their pleas.
When the charges were read, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Alilu and the lead defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, had argued over the bail of the 25 accused, citing different authorities.
Justice Kurya, however, granted bail to all the accused on self recognisance.
He directed Erokoro to ensure that the defendants were produced on the next adjourned date.
He said, “The 1st accused must leave his passport with the court as a precondition for the interim bail since the passports of the Chinese are with the police.
“Counsel is expected to produce all the accused in court on the next adjourned date.
“This interim bail is to enable this court to study the arguments proffered and documents of both counsel for me to rule on the bail application made by the defence counsel.”
The judge thereafter adjourned the case till May 16, 2018, for ruling on the bail application.
But shortly after the judge rose and the bail conditions were perfected, heavily armed security men swooped on Adamu and whisked him away, with operatives in three Hilux vans.
He was reportedly taken to the office of the National Security Adviser in Abuja.
Erokoro described the re-arrest as “crude” and “unfortunate’’ in a democratic government.
“We are witnessing the other side of a democratically elected government, which is not good for us when the whole world is watching what is happening here, ’’ he said.