Court remands 5 Turkish school pupils’ abductors in Kuje prison

Police Custody

JUSTICE John Tsoho of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the remand in Kuje prison of five men accused of abducting and taking hostage of some pupils and staff members of a school in Isheri, Ogun state, on January 13, 2017, and another six victims along Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos, in December last year.

The order of the court followed the arraignment of the suspects yesterday by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on a five count charge dated May 31, 2017 and filed on June 1.

Those named as defendants in the case marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/85/2017, are Bekewei Agbojule (a.k.a Asari), Egbasimokumo Ayeomi (a.k.a Effiong), Godspower Olopele, Toki Okuba and Super Allen Baye (a.k.a Yanga).

Three of the defendants – Agbojule, Ayeomi and Baye were said to be from Ijaw community of Arogbo town, in the riverine area of Ondo State, while the two others, Olopele and Okuba were said to be residents of Ikorodu, Lagos State and Isheri in Ogun State, respectively.

There was no legal representation for the defendants when they were arraigned yesterday.

However, all the defendants denied committing the offence, a development which prompted the prosecution counsel, Aminu Aliyu to request for date to commence trial.

At yesterday’s sitting, the court brought a court staff who interpreted the charge to the defendants from English language to “pidgin”.

In a short ruling, the court remanded the defendants in Kuje prison, and adjourned till September 28, 2017 for commencement of trial.

The prosecution had alleged that the offence of conspiracy to commit hostage taking was an act of terrorism contrary to Section 17 of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, and punishable under the same section of the Act.

It alleged further that other offences of seizing, hostage taking and demanding ransom were also acts of terrorism said to be contrary to Section 15 (1) of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The charges read, “That you, Bekewei Agbojule a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves and others at large to commit an offence to wit: hostage taking”.

They were also accused of hostage taking by seizing some staff and students of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, namely, Nwosu Stephanie, Olatubosun Zainab, Agodi Rebecca, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Aderinto Hanat and Deriyo Yaziel at gun point  to compel their family members to pay ransom before releasing them.

“That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi,  a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye  a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court,  did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you detained some staff and students of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, namely, Nwosu Stephanie, Olatubosun Zainab, Agodi Rebecca, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Aderinto Hanat and Deriyo Yaziel and demanded from their family members a monetary ransom of N8 million, which you later reduced to the sum of N50 million and received by you before releasing them”.

The defendants are also accused of hostage taking by seizin one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others at gun point to compel their family members to pay ransom before releasing them.

“That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi,  a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye  a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about December 16, 2016, at Ibafo Creek, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking, in that you detained one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others and demanded a monetary ransom of N2 million from their family members which you received before releasing them.”

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