AGF charges Lagos, Ogun pupils, teachers’ kidnappers with terrorism

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The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has charged five men with offences of taking hostage some pupils and staff members of a school in Isheri, Ogun State, on January 13, 2017, and another six victims along the Ikorodu expressway, Lagos, on December 16, 2016.

Malami, on June 1, 2017, charged the five alleged abductors before the Federal High Court in Abuja after taking over the case from the police.

It was learnt that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, handed over the case to the office of the AGF on the grounds that Lagos State was currently handling several cases relating to kidnapping.

The charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel in the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Aminu Alilu.

Those named as defendants in the case marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/85/2017, are Bekewei Agbojule (a.k.a Asari); Egbasimokumo Ayeomi (a.k.a Effiong); Godspower Olopele, Toki Okuba and Super Allen Baye (a.k.a Yanga).

Three of the defendants – Agbojule, Ayeomi and Baye – were said to be from Ijaw community of Arogbo town in the riverside area of Ondo State, while the two others –Olopele and Okuba – were said to be residents of Ikorodu, Lagos State, and Isheri in Ogun State, respectively.

The prosecution said hostage taking and receiving of ransom, which the defendants were accused of, were acts of terrorism punishable by life imprisonment under the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013.

In the first three of the five counts preferred against the defendants, it was alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves and with others at large, and demanded N800m as ransom after they “seized” and “detained” the pupils and staff members of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State.

They were said to have demanded N800m as ransom, but later reduced it to N50m, which they allegedly received before releasing the victims.

The seven pupils and staff members of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, allegedly abducted by the defendants were  Stephanie Nwosu, Zainab Olatubosun, Rebecca Agodi, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Hanat Aderinto and Deriyo Yaziel.

The prosecution also alleged in count four and five that the same set of defendants, along with others at large, on December 16, 2016, at Asolo Bridge, Ikorodu expressway, Lagos, seized at gunpoint one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others.

The defendants were said to have, after seizing the six victims in Ikorodu, gone ahead to detain them at the Ibafo Creek, Ogun State.

They were alleged to have demanded a monetary ransom of N2m from the family members of the victims and received the money before releasing the abductees.

The prosecution alleged that the offence of conspiracy to commit hostage taking was an act of terrorism contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, and punishable under the same section of the Act.

It alleged that other offences of seizing, hostage taking and demanding ransom were also acts of terrorism said to be contrary to Section 15 (1) of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The charges read, “That you, Bekewei Agbojule a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State, and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves and others at large to commit an offence to wit: hostage taking.

“That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi,  a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State, and Super Allen Baye  a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court,  did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you detained some staff and students of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, namely, Nwosu Stephanie, Olatubosun Zainab, Agodi Rebecca, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Aderinto Hanat and Deriyo Yaziel and demanded from their family members a monetary ransom of eight hundred million naira (N800,000,000), which you later reduced to the sum of fifty million naira (N50,000,000) and received by you before releasing them.

“That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi,  a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State, and Super Allen Baye, a.k.a Yanga, of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about December 16, 2016, at Asolo Bridge, Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you seized one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others at gunpoint to compel their family members to pay ransom before releasing them.”

Source: Punch

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