Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
A Chief Magistrate Court in Lokoja, Kogi State, yesterday remanded four suspected kidnappers in Federal Prisons Koton-Karfe over alleged attempt to kidnap a primary school pupil for a N5 million ransom.
According to the prosecution counsel, Gabriel Otowu of the Kogi State Police Command, the accused allegedly hatched the plan in Bauchi and traveled down to Kogi State to carry out the operation in Anyigba, Dekina Local Government Area.
Otowu said the accused, Suleiman Isiaka, 30; Ibrahim James, 32; Shehu Agba, 36, and Damisa Daniel John, 27, along with one other currently at large, conspired to commit the alleged offence.
They were charged with attempted kidnapping contrary to section 97(1) of the Penalty Code Law and Section 5 of the Kogi State Kidnapping and Other Related Offences (Prohibition) Law, 2005.
He alleged that the four accused and their fleeing accomplice criminally conspired and left Bauchi in an Opel Vectra car marked GYD 129 XA to Anyigba on a â€˜â€™technically planned mission to kidnap one Victor Nathaniel.â€™â€™
The prosecution further alleged that the gang headed by Suleiman Isiaka went straight to Royal Breed Academy, Anyigba, where Nathaniel is schooling to carry out the operation but luck ran out on them and they met their waterloo.
The accused, according to him, shortly before carrying out the operation had called the father of the boy to demand N5 million and N1 million separate ransom as they approached the scene of the planned kidnap operation and moved straight into the waiting security net of the police.
Otowu, in his submission to the court, said investigation into the matter was almost done but asked for another date for mention, adding that the fleeing accomplice would have to be arrested. He objected to the bail of the accused defendants and asked for their Custodian Order in view of the magnitude of the alleged offences which he described as serious. Counsel to the accused, Mr Joel Usman and Z.E. Abbas applied for the bail of their clients, the accused defendants, and urged the court to treat the issue of bail judiciously and judicially.
Levi Animoku of Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court, in his ruling, said though the defendants were remanded beyond measure before their arraignment, having been in police custody since October, 2017, said the alleged offence was horrifying.
â€œIt carries high degree of penalties. Though I agree that bail is not a discharge and in view of the gravity of the offence and the penalty awardable at the end of the trial (if any) the propensity to jump bail is high.
â€œI am not prepared to take that risk in this court. Accordingly, I refuse the bail of the defendants in this court. â€œConsequently, the defendants shall be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe, Kogi State,â€ he said, and adjourned the case to March 13 for mention.