Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court in Nyanya on Tuesday discharged 11 men standing trial for alleged armed robbery and conspiracy charges preferred against them.
The defendants are Sani Mohammed, 28, Godwin Okagbue, 35, Babayaro Musa-Ayuba, 46, Emeka Okoli, 32, Chijioke Okwo, 43, and Elendu Okorie, 36.
Others are Justin Anorue, 33, Uche Chukwuma, 32, Jack Omelinuniru, 41, Chukwudi Okafor, 22, and Geoffrey Ozomabu, 30.
Ikenna Obika and Chinedu Kongoso are at large.
The police arraigned them on a seven-count charge, bordering on armed robbery and receiving stolen property.
They alleged that on Oct. 16, 2016 at about 1 a.m., the defendants conspired to commit armed robbery at NNPC filling station in Karshi, Abuja, contrary to Section 6 (b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision), 2004.
The also alleged that the defendants on the same day armed with guns, classes, iron cutters and other dangerous weapons robbed and threatened one Abdullahi Arma-Yau.
The Prosecuting Counsel, Mr Simon Lough, added that the defendants also robbed one Ishaku Saidu, Managing Director of the Karshi filling station of his generator and other valuables.
He alleged further that the generator was received by Chukwudi Okafor and Geoffrey Ozomabu around Oct. 16 to Nov. 22.
Lough said that the offences were contrary to Sections 1 (2), 5, 6 (b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provision) 2004, 319 (a) and 327 of the Penal Code.
All the defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them.
But, while delivering judgment on the matter, Kekemeke held that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of the charges against all the defendants.
He held that opportunities were given to the prosecution to prove their case but were not utilised in line with the doctrine of fair hearing.
“There was no evidence to link all the defendants together conspiring as alleged or any evidence to show that they were caught with arms.
“The items alleged to have been stolen were not brought to court as evidence nor any proof that stolen goods were found with anyone of the defendants.
“There is no evidence linking the defendants with the allegations levelled against them, the defendants are hereby discharged of the charges against them,” he held.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the eighth defendant, Uche Chukwuma, died while the trial was going on. (NAN)