Why we cannot defend Abduljabbar Kabara – Legal Aid

The Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) the controversial Kano cleric, Abduljabbar Kabara, who is standing trial on alleged blasphemy is not qualified to be represented by lawyer from the Council.

ALL IN ONE reports that Abduljabbar Kabara was arraigned on Friday, July 16, before an Upper Sharia Court at Kofar Kudu for alleged  blasphemy, and incitement.

At the last adjourned day, the trial judge ordered the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) Headquarters to provide legal representation for the cleric in the ongoing trial of alleged blasphemy against the defendant.

When the court resumed sitting, Thursday, the Kano State Coordinator, Legal Aid Council, Mukhtar Labaran Usman, told the court that he attended the proceeding, in compliance with the court order issued on the last adjourned date.

“We wrote a letter to the court in respect of the order dated May 23, the council is constrained in handling the case.

“The council is a Federal Government Parastatal established by section 1(1)of Legal Aid Act 2011,”

Labaran-Usman further said “the council’s services shall only be granted to a person whose income does not exceed N30,000 per month.

“The defendant income exceed the national minimum wage and the offence to which he is arraigned is blasphemy.”

When the court contacted Kabara to hear his own response on the submission of Legal Aid Council, he told the court that he is not a civil servant and challenged that “how did the LACON knows he earns more than N30,000 minimum wage?

He prayed the court not to allow the Attorney General of Kano to provide a lawyer for him.

The defendant made some allegations against the state government, stressing that he doesn’t need a lawyer from Kano state government as it is interested party.

“I don’t believe in lawyers anymore, my former three set of lawyers betrayed me, especially the first team,” Kabara said.

The prosecution counsel, Yakubu Abdullahi, did not objected the letter written by the LACON and urged the court to order the Attorney General of Kano State to provide a legal representation for the defendant.

Section 389 and 349(5) ACJL 2019 says the Attorney General has the right to get a legal representation for the defendant

The trial judge, Yola, after listening to both parties ordered asked Dalhatu Shehu Usman to represent the defendant.

He consquently adjourned the case to June 9, for continuation of defense.

The cleric’s disagreement with his counsels

The controversial Islamic cleric, had earlier dropped his lawyers, alleging that they misled him in the ongoing case.

He alleged that “they convinced me to refuse to talk in Court on the last sittings on account that if he is considered mentally deranged he will have soft punishment against the expected capital punishment.”

Kabara told the court that his former lawyers misled him not to respond to the charges earlier filed against him at one of the previous sittings, stressing that he complied to their instructions by keeping mute at the previous sitting.

“two days before coming to that court for the last sitting, the lawyers came to the correctional facility where I was detained. They informed me that I was going to appear in court and that the charges would be read to me. Then they cautioned me that those charges were traps set to frame me that if I accept those allegations, I have walked into a technical suicide trap that have been set for me.

”They told me that already my fate has been decided that the judgement has already been written against me by this court and the only way out for me is to keep quiet. At this point, I asked them, what is the implication of my keeping quiet. They told me, they will handle it. That, after the case they will address the press. They now ask me to provide N500,000.00 for they to organize a press conference which I provided them with N300,000.00.

“Unfortunately, on that day in court, I kept quiet as instructed the court them ordered that I should undergo mental and hearing test, and then my lawyers all sited did not object. Rather I see them charting with the prosecution lawyers I felt embarrassed. It is these same lawyers who joined me with a top civil servant in the state. I will not disclose his or her name.

“The top government official advised me to allow for a medical report confirming that I am mentally sick and I will be condemned but in the process I will regain my freedom and they need only one million naira to use media to carry the process”. Kabara narrated

The spokesperson of the Defense lawyers, Rabiu Abdullahi said they are not legally in a position to reveal what happened between them and their client, but however, they advised him to embrace appropriate channel within two weeks or they would take legal action against him.

“We are legal practitioners and are guided by professional ethics, so there is no way we can reveal what happened between us and our client to the public.

“However, we call on our client Sheikh Abduljabbar to report the allegations he is having against us, which he mentioned to the court this morning to the proper authority so that we can be quizzed for violating professional ethics.

On May 12, Kabara, informed the court that, he has disengaged his lawyers for a second time.

Kabara said, he would continue to defend himself in the ongoing blasphemy case until he secured the service of new counsel.

The cleric’s counsels had previously informed the court in writing that they were withdrawing from the case.


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