From Omale Adama Lokoja
A Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court has remanded two Fulani nomads, whose names were given as Abubakar Mohammed and Garba Mati, in prison over alleged kidnap of two Chinese nationals from the cement town of Obajana in Kogi state.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Levi Animoku gave the order for their remand in his ruling on arraignment of the accused on Tuesday 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 a senior Legal Officer, Mohammed Abaji Esq., 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, called Yakubu), committed the offence on June 12 at Obajana in Lokoja local government area of Kogi state.
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 alleged kidnappers, who according to him, have made useful confessional statements that revealed that they got their share of N100,000 each from the ransom.
Counsel to the accused, Mu’azu 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 carry high degree of punishment (Life imprisonment) upon conviction.
He, therefore, urged the court to refuse the bail application, on the grounds that, having known the weight of the offence and its punishment upon conviction, the accused would certainly elude justice, more so as they had no traceable address, as 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, saying “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 and adjourned to July 31, for further mention.