Court remands 2 over alleged kidnap of Chinese nationals

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A Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court on Tuesday remanded two Fulani nomads, Abubakar Mohammed and Garba Mati in prison over alleged kidnap of two Chinese nationals from Obajana in Kogi.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Levi Animoku gave the order for their remand in his ruling on arraignment of the accused in Lokoja.

The accused were charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Kidnapping contrary to sections 97(1) of the Penal Code Law and 3(a) and 7(a) of Kogi State Kidnapping, Thuggery and Other Related Offences (Prohibition) Law, 2010 respectively.

The prosecution led by Mohammed Abaji Esq., Senior Legal Officer with the state Ministry of Justice urged the court to take cognizance of the offences.

According to the prosecution, the accused, in the company of two others now at large (Haruna Abdullahi and another simply called Yakubu), committed the offence on June 12 at Obajana in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi.

Abaji alleged that the accused took the two Chinese nationals, Shen Fahung and Shan Hongui into the bush in Obajana, demanded and collected an undisclosed amount as ransom before releasing them.

He said that investigation led to the arrest of the duo who made confessional statements and revealed that they got their share of N100,000 each from the ransom.

Counsel to the accused, Mua’zu Abbas Esq. in his oral application, urged the court to exercise its discretion in admitting his clients to bail saying that in line with section 36(5) of the constitution, they were presumed innocent at this stage of trial.

Abaji however opposed the bail application on the ground that the offences carried high degree of punishment (Life imprisonment) upon conviction.

He urged the court to refuse the bail application saying that having known the weight of the offence and its punishment upon conviction, the accused would certainly elope justice, more so as they had no traceable address being Fulani nomads.

Animoku in his ruling said kidnap cases were too rampant and must be handled with caution adding that presumption of innocence was not absolute as in this case as “the propensity to elope justice is high.”

Animoku therefore, refused the bail application and ordered that the accused be remanded at Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe.

He adjourned to July 31 for further mention.

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