George Okoh in Makurdi
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Isaac Ajim Monday refused to grant bail to six Fulani herdsmen arrested over the new year attack on five communities of Guma and Logo Local Government Areas of Benue State
The six accused persons were first arraigned on January 4, 2018, and have since been on remand at the Makurdi Federal Medium Prison.
The accused persons, Ibrahim Saleh, Jibrin Adamu, Magaji Yau, Ibrahim Abubakar, Useni Bala, Sabin Yau, are been charged for culpable homicide, criminal conspiracy, mischief by fire, grievous hurt and violation of the prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.
They are also being tried for openly rearing their cows within farmlands at Akor village in Guma Local Government Area, thus contravening section 97, 329, 333 and 222 of the penal code law of Benue State and section 19(2)(3) of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of Benue State 2017.
When the case was mentioned, the principal state counsel, M.N Abenga, from the state Ministry of Justice formally applied to take over the case from the initial prosecution counsel, Edward Imoh.
Abenga also brought another application urging the court not to grant bail to the accused persons pending the determination of the substantive suit and asked for adjournment to another date to enable the Ministry of Justice conclude on it legal advice.
Counsel to the defendants, Al Mustapha Elegu, did not oppose the application.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim, granted application by the state counsel to take over the case.
Ajim who further told the accused that the offence committed by them was grievous, and that he needed legal advice from the state Ministry of Justice before he can rule on any application for bail, ordered that they still be remanded at the Makurdi Federal Medium Prisons and adjourned the case to March 29, 2018 for ruling on application for bail and April 11, 2018 for hearing of the substantive suit respectively.
Speaking with journalists immediately after the court sitting, counsel to the accused, Elegu, said he did not raise any objection to the motions raised by the state counsel because there was no basis for it at the moment.
Elegu said he did not see the case succeeding at the chief magistrate court, adding that it was just to pave the way for High Court to properly try the accused.