Court remands four suspected kidnappers of UNIABUJA lecturers, children

Four persons suspected to be involved in the kidnapping of University of Abuja (UniAbuja) lecturers and their children in 2021 were, on Monday, arraigned at the Federal High Court Abuja.

The suspects who were arraigned by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), are Adamu Abubakar, Nura Muhammed Ahmadu, Ismailia Abubakar and Abdulrahman Ado, also known as Yellow.

They pleaded not guilty to the counts read to them before the trial judge, Donatus Okorowo on two counts of terrorism.

Defendants’ complaints

Prior to their arraignment, the four defendants signalled to the judge with intention to speak in the open court.

Mr Okorowo initially turned down their request on the basis that their lawyer was in court to speak for them. But on their insistence, the judge changed his mind to allow them to speak.

The suspects then told the court that since their arrest over two years ago, their families did not know their whereabouts.

They complained that they were subjected to inhuman treatment without food and proper care.

Remand

After they pleaded not guilty to the charge, AGF’s lawyer, David Kaswe, urged the court to order their remand and requested a trial date.

However, their counsel, C.S. Nwaogu, urged the court to order that the defendants be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre based on their complaints.

He said this would allow their family members to have access to them.

But Mr Kaswe opposed the request.

The government lawyer argued that due to the nature of the charge, the defendants should be remanded in the custody of the State Security Service (SSS)..

Mr Okorowo, who ordered the defendants to be remanded in the DSS facility, adjourned the matter until 24 July 24 for trial.

Kidnap, arrest and charges

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that gunmen had, on 21 November 2021, invaded the UniAbuja Staff Quarters in Gwagwalada, Abuja and abducted six persons, including a professor, Joseph Adavani, and Ferguson Tobins.

The abductors, who contacted the families of the victims a day after their kidnap, demanded a ransom of N300 million.

But the then-Police Public Relations Officer of the FCT Command, Josephine Adeh, on 5 November 2021, confirmed the release of the victims.

According to her, the development followed the efforts of the command in a joint operation with other security agencies.

She also stated that some suspects linked to the crime were nabbed by security operatives.

NAN reports that the federal government, through the Office of AGF, filed a two counts of terrorism act against the four suspects.

The case was filed on 11 July 2023 by Mr Kaswe, a Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The federal government said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 15 and 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013.



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