Man, 72, held over kidnap of Kogi High Court Judge

Chief Judge wigTHE Kogi State Police Command has arraigned a 72-year-old man, Ahmed Adoke and John Sule, 41, a mechanic, for the alleged kidnapping of Justice Samuel Obayomi of the state High Court, Ebogogo on May 25.

The Judge was in the kidnappers’ den for over one month before he was left off the hook.

‘ The accused persons who were arraigned before Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court II on Wednesday were alleged to have on May 25, along with others now at large, criminally conspired and armed themselves with offensive weapons to commit the crime.
The Police First Information Report (FIR) indicated that the accused, who were brandishing AK-47 rifles and locally made pistols, disguised themselves and waylaid the judge on Ebogogo road, close to the court premises and “forcefully stopped His lordship’s car.”

The FIR read by the Prosecuting Police Officer, Inspector C.S. Ayabatu said that the hoodlums instantly shot at the judge’s police orderly, Cpl Usman Musa, who died on the spot.

They were then alleged to have “violently kidnapped” Justice Obayomi to an unknown destination only to release him after collecting an undisclosed sum of money as ransom after a month.

The FIR said that the accused were arrested on June 6, by a team of Federal Special Anti Robbery Squad (FSARS) from Abuja and brought to Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Lokoja.

Adoke and Sule, all of Okene, were charged with criminal conspiracy, culpable homicide and kidnapping contrary to sections 97(1) and 221 of the Penal Code Law and Part 1 section 3(a)(i)(ii) of the state Kidnapping, Thuggery and Other Related Offences Prohibition Law 2010.

Adoke’s counsel, Muazu Abbas Esq. orally applied for bail of the accused and anchored his application on section 36(5) of the Constitution, urging the court to exercise its discretion in favour of his client as he pleaded presumption of innocence of the accusation.

The prosecuting police officer, Ayabatu, vehemently opposed the application on the ground that the offences for which cognizance was taken were not ordinarily bailable.

He said that the matter was still under investigation adding that releasing the accused persons on bail at this stage would jeopardize police investigations aside the fact that they could jump bail.

In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Alhassan Husaini said the offences were grave given the attendant consequences of life imprisonment without an option of fine upon conviction in line with the state law on kidnapping.

“I, therefore, hasten to refuse this application in the light of the rampant and prevalent cases of kidnapping within the state which has been on an increasing surge and in monumental proportion.”

“In consequence, I hereby order that the two accused persons be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe”, he said and adjourned the case to July 28, 2015 for mention.

Justice Samuel Obayomi, the Resident High Court Judge of Ebogogo in Adavi Local Council, was kidnapped on Monday, May 25, by a three-member gang all dressed in black.

He was released after 34 days in the kidnappers’ den on Sunday, June 27, 2015.

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