A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday remanded seven men in the Makurdi Custodial Centre for allegedly kidnapping the Benue State Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Mr Ekpe Ogbu, on Ado/Otukpo Road.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the defendants — Nuhu Musa, Mohammed Danjuma, Yunusa Usman, Abubakar Usman, Usman Saleh, Hamza Sani and Monday Samuel — were charged with criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping and act of terrorism.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Roseline Iyorshe, did not take their plea for want of jurisdiction.

Earlier, the prosecuting counsel, Inspector Jonah Uletu, told the court that the police received a report of the incident on December 31, 2022, from Operation Zenda Joint Task Force through a signal.

He said the signal stated that operatives trailed and arrested the suspects following the kidnap of the commissioner on December 4, 2022.

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He added that it was discovered that the suspects were members of the kidnap gang terrorising Benue South district and that one Beretta pistol was found on them at the time of arrest.

Uletu said the suspects confessed to the crime voluntarily during police investigation and that other members of the gang were still at large.

The offences, he said, contravened the Benue Robbery and Firearms Act 2004 and the Abduction, Hostage-taking, kidnapping, Secret Cult and similar activities Prohibition Laws of Benue, 2017.

The chief magistrate referred the case file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and adjourned the matter till February 22 for mention.