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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

FG takes over prosecution of alleged 4 terrorists who kidnapped, killed Imo monarch

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The federal government has taken over the prosecution of four suspected terrorists who allegedly kidnapped and killed the traditional ruler of Amanze Obowo Autonomous Community of Imo State, Eze Basil Njoku.

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN took over the trial of the suspects at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The sudden take over of the case by the AGF from the Inspector General of Police however led to shifting of the date in the re-arraignment of the defendants in the amended charges brought against them.

The AGF through his counsel, David Kaswe invoked sections 174 of the 1999 Constitution and 105 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to assume trial of the terrorism charges.

Immediate the AGF announced the take over of the prosecution, he pleaded with Justice Binta Nyako to put off the arraignment till another date to enable him study the case file and ensure dilligent prosecution.

He said that the Inspector General of Police has already been directed to make the case file available to the Federal Ministry of Justice for approximate action by the AGF.

The four defendants are Jude Iheme and Chika Madukwe, Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke.

The three counts earlier slammed against the defendants have been increased to five in the amended charges.

Justice Binta Nyako after taking arguments from the AGF subsequently fixed April 15 for the re-arraignment of the defendants.

Iheme, 52 years of Amagwu Amanze Obowo local government area of Imo and Madukwe, 42 years of Ndi-Uche Etiti Omuimo local government area also of Imo State, were said to have killed the traditional ruler on December 17, 2022..

The defendants were accused of killing the monarch while coming from the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia, after kidnapping and collecting a ransom of N4M cash from his family.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/575/2024, Iheme and Madukwe alongside others said to be at large were said to have conspired to commit felony to wit, acts of terrorism contrary to section 26 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.

They were also said to have armed themselves with guns and offensive weapons, attacked, kidnapped and killed the monarch on December 17, 2022.

The IGP also accused them of failing to volunteer information at their disposal to security agencies which could have led to apprehension of other kidnappers contrary to section 16 of the same Terrorism Act.

Part of the charge read “That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years ago and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja during the police investigation of offence of kidnapping and terrorism of the Royal Eze, Basil Njoku conspired and brought false accusations with internt to cause Nwigwe Emeka Williams to be charged with kidnapping and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act.

“That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja with intent to mislead the police investigators in the case of kidnap and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you gave false information to the investigators that a drunk man informed you that Nwigwe Emeka Williams is responsible for the kidnap and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku Knowing or having reason to know that information you gave to police investigators is false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act 2004.

“That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years ago and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja during the police investigation of offence of kidnapping and terrorism of the Royal Eze, Basil Njoku conspired and brought false accusations with internt to cause Nwigwe Emeka Williams to be charged with kidnapping and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act.

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