Yaoundé (National Times)- Ten Leaders of ‘Ambazonia’ including the President of the Governing Coucil, Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe, appeared in a Yaoundé Military Court on Thursday, December 6, 2018, for hearing in a case pitting them against the State of Cameroon.
The case started at about 11:00 am when the presiding Military Judge, Colonel Abega Mbezoa made her entry. All 10 accused including, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, Dr Nfor Ngala Nfor, Tassang Wilfred, Dr Henry Kimeng, Dr Cornelius Kwanga, Dr Fidelis Che, Prof Awasum Augustine, Dr Egbe Ogork, Barristers Eyambe Elias and Shufai Blaise were present.
Apart from Barrister Eyambe, who was dressed in a smart jacket and black tie with white spots, most of the others were dressed in their traditional attires representing their cultural background.
They were being assisted by a battery of Lawyers, mostly of Common Law extraction headed by Barrister Fru John Nsoh. Among others was also Barrister Agbor Balla
As proceedings evolved under a relax and calm atmosphere, the civil party presented a list of witnesses which was rejected by the defence since it was not done five days before hearing as disposed by article 414 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Cameroon.
Moreover, one of the civil parties was Barrister Mangwa, whose appearance was hotly criticised by the defence as he failed to provide clearance from the President of the Bar Council authorising him to stand against his colleagues in the persons of Barristers Eyambe and Shufai
There was suspension of the session and after much deliberation, the case was adjourned to January 10, 2019. According to the Lead Counsel for the defence, Barrister Fru John, they could not understand what actually happened in court.
He expressed disappointment that the case is yet to dwell on the substantive arguments and is already being postponed.
Worthy of note is the fact that Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 12 other leaders of Ambazonia were arrested on January 5, 2018 in the vicinity of Nera Hotels, Abuja, Nigeria and later on extradited to Yaoundé.
Prior to their transfer from Abuja to Yaoundé two other persons including the only lady in the group, Barrister Nalowa Bih were released under unclear conditions.
According to the Lawyers of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and co, it was an illegal arrest since there is no treaty of extradition between Nigeria and Cameroon and there was no court decision authorising their extradition from Nigeria to Cameroon.
After being kept in solitary confinements for about 10 months, the State charged them to court and moved them from the National Gendarmerie Headquarters to the Yaoundé Kondengui Principal Prison.
The 10 are being accused of acts of terrorism, secession, complicity to acts of terrorism, financing of terrorism, revolution, hostilities against Fatherland, organisation of armed groups, propagation of false news, breach to national security and failure to present national identity cards.
If found guilty, the 10 would face the death penalty. It is also to be noted that since the start of the trial, State media and Government have observed a cautious silence about the matter.