Court remands seven over alleged kidnap of Benue commissioner, terrorism

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AMakurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday remanded seven men at the Makurdi Correctional Centre for allegedly kidnapping the Benue Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Ekpe Ogbu, on Ado/Otukpo Road.

The suspects, Nuhu Musa, Mohammed Danjuma, Yunusa Usman, Abubakar Usman, Usman Saleh, Hamza Sani and Monday Samuel are all of various addresses in Oju/Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue.

They were charged with criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of firearms, kidnapping and act of terrorism.

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

Earlier, the prosecuting counsel, 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.

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

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.

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

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

Mrs Iyorshe referred the case file to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution and adjourned till February 22 for mention.

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