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Ummukulsum’s murder: Chinese national’s demand for interpreter stalls court’s proceeding

By Murtala Adewale, Kano
05 October 2022   |   3:56 am
The arraignment of Geng Quangrong before a Kano High court, for the murder of Ummukulsum Sani Buhari, his girlfriend was stalled yesterday, following a fresh application he filled for the production ..

Quangrong (left)with prison official yesterday PHOTO:Murtala Adewale

The arraignment of Geng Quangrong before a Kano High court, for the murder of  Ummukulsum Sani Buhari, his girlfriend was stalled yesterday, following a fresh application he filled for the production of a professional interpreter.

   
Quangrong, a Chinese national, is facing a criminal charge for allegedly  murdering Buhari, 24, at her Kabuga quarters residence in Kano metropolis.
   
Trial judge, Sanusi Ado Ma’aji,  had on Thursday adjourned Quangrong’s arraignment to enable him produce legal representation for the criminal charge.
   
When the matter was called for his plea yesterday, the defendant’s counsel, Mohammad Danazimi,  raised  a fresh application, demanding that the court grants his client the right to produce a professional interpreter that would translate the language of the court to Mandarin, the Chinese official language.
 
Danazimi told the court that his client does not  properly understand English language, especially the language of the court, insisting that the accused is constitutionally entitled to an interpreter.
 
The defendant’s counsel, who corroborated his submission with section 36 of the Constitution and section 237 and 273 of Administration of Criminal Justice, claimed that his client, who is alien to the language of the court, required fair hearing and understanding of the offences and charges brought against him.
 
“By the provision of the law, it is clear that anybody facing such offence should be charged in the language he understands. Hence, the accused person needs the assistance of an interpreter, who will translate the language of the court to Mandarin language, his official language.
 
“We demand that the court should not infringe on his right and that is why we want the court to allow  an interpreter to explain the charges, so that the accused will be left with assurance of justice,” Danazimi submitted.
 
On his part, Kano State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,  Musa Lawan, who did not oppose the application of the defence, however, informed the court that the state had written to the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria and the Chinese community in Kano on similar request.
   
The prosecuting counsel drew the court’s attention to previous  conversations between the accused person and the court during the last sitting and expressed surprise over the intention of the defence counsel.
   
Lawal asked the court to adjourn the matter for three weeks pending when the Chinese authorities provide a suitable interpreter for the accused person in court.
 
In his ruling, Justice Ma’aji granted the application of the defence and ordered the state to provide the accused person with an interpreter that will translate English to Mandarin language. The court  subsequently adjourned to October 27, for arraignment.