An Oredo Magistrates’ Court in Benin yesterday discharged three men Shaka Momodu,34, Yusuf Inusa,29, and Garba Sekwan, 53, charged with theft of electoral materials.
The Magistrate, Mr Peter Edo-Asemota, ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
He said that the court could not try the men based on the fact that the alleged offences were committed within Auchi Magisterial District.
Edo-Asemota said that only Auchi Magistrates’ Court or High Court with jurisdiction for Etsako South could try the case.
“Section 138(a) of Edo State Local Government Electoral Independent Commission Election Law 2012, is very clear on this.
“An offence committed under this law shall be tried in a Magistrates’ Court or High Court located within the Local Government Area where the offence is committed.
“In the circumstance, these charges are accordingly hereby struck out for want of jurisdiction and the accused are hereby discharged,’’ Edo-Asemota said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the electoral materials belonging to the Edo Independent Electoral Commission (EDSIEC) were alleged to have been stolen in Auchi.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Mr Wole Ehinmowo, told the court that the accused on Oct. 22, 2013 at ward 3, unit 4, and 5, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, organised a group of persons to act in a disorderly manner.
Ehinmowo said the accused committed the offence at the venue of Edo State Independent Electoral Commission.
The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 74, 64(2) (g), 72(1) of the Edo Electoral law.
Mr Rahman Mohammed, counsel to the accused, had earlier appealed to the court to strike out the case, saying the court had no jurisdiction over the matter. (NAN)