Court remands 5 over alleged acts of terrorism in Benue

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An Upper Area Court in Makurdi, Benue, on Monday remanded five men facing trial for a range of offences that included criminal conspiracy, inciting disturbances, mischief, and acts of terrorism.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the defendants are Vanen Bunde, Wase Tikor, Shie Jacob, Abur Stephen, and Ortyom Lav.

When the case came up for mention, the magistrate, Mrs Verhsima Hwande, did not take the pleas of the defendant for want of jurisdiction.

Following the prosecution’s application for the remand of the defendants in custody pending completion of investigation, Hwande remanded all the defendants at the Federal Maximum Correctional Centre Makurdi.

She subsequently adjourned the case until July 18 for further mention.

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Earlier, the police prosecutor, Inspector Rachel Mchieve, told the court that the case was transferred from E Division, Makurdi, to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Makurdi, via a letter, No. AR:3100/BNS/MKE/VOL.6/786, dated June 2.

She stated that Asemave Boston, the chairman of the Peace Tricycle Association of Nigeria, Benue State chapter, reported the case at E Division Police Station Makurdi on May 30.

On the same day, Stephen Vambe, an expelled member of the association, allegedly led a team of hoodlums to attack the Peace Tricycle office at Wurukum, Makurdi.

Vambe, a supporter of the All Progressives Congress (APC), also incited some youths to forcefully take over the management of the association on the grounds that the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that installed the management had been ousted.

“When the members of the association’s management attempted to resist, Stephen Vambe ordered his men, who were armed with dangerous weapons, to take over the premises of the association by force,” the police prosecutor narrated.

Mchieve alleged that the members of the executive council of the association were attacked and beaten up, while all the tricycles parked within the premises were damaged.

She stated that suspects Vanen Bunde, Wase Tikor, Shie Jacob, Abur Stephen, and Ortyom Lav, were arrested for the crime following a police investigation, while others, including Stephen Vambe, are still at large.

Mchieve said that the offences committed contravened sections 97, 329, 316, 266 and 329 of the Penal Code Law of Benue State 2004 and Section 4 (2) of the Abduction, Hostage Taking, Kidnapping, Secret Cult, and Similar Activities Provision Law of Benue State 2017.

She affirmed that the investigation into the matter is still ongoing and requested additional time to complete it.

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