From Omale Adama, Lokoja
Three men were yesterday remanded in prison custody on the orders of a Lokoja Chief Magistrate’s court over their alleged involvement in the kidnap of Kogi Speaker’s children.
The Chief Magistrate of the court, Mr. Levi Animoku gave the order, in his ruling on arraignment of the accused, Abdulwahab Bajeh, Sule Ganiyu and Yunusa Abdulmalik, in Lokoja.
They were charged with criminal conspiracy and kidnapping contrary to section 97 of the Penal Code Law and sections 3(a) and 7(a) of Kogi State Kidnapping, Thuggery and other Related Offences (Prohibition) Law 2010.
It would be recalled that three-year-old Hafiz Lawal and Ogirima Lawal, six years children of the speaker of Kogi House of Assembly, Alhaji Momoh-Jimoh Lawal, were on April 15 kidnapped by four unidentified gunmen.
The children, who were kidnapped from their family house in Okengwe, Okene Local Government were released and reunited with their parents on Friday June 6 after 53 days in the kidnappers’ custody.
Senior Legal Officer with the state Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abaji Esq. leading the prosecution said that a gang of four unidentified men armed with sophisticated weapons invaded the residence of the speaker on the April 15 and kidnapped the children.
The abductors, he said, had forcefully taken the children away in their mother’s car, a dark-blue Toyota Yaris with registration number: Lagos AKD 224 AY.
Abaji explained that the kidnappers demanded a ransom of N200 million for the release of the children.
Abaji told the court that investigation into the matter was on-going as some of the accused were still at large and urged the court to remand the accused in Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe.
Counsel to the accused, led by Mu’azu Abbas urged the court to exercise its discretion in granting bail to the accused saying, “Since there is still room for further inquiries, I urge the court to admit them to bail.”
In his ruling, Animoku said criminal conspiracy and kidnapping were currently rampant and heinous adding, that the accused having been linked with the crime, “I decline to grant them bail as pleaded.”