A Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, convicted and sentenced two of the four defendants alleged to have kidnapped Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to a 20-year-jail term each.
Justice Binta Nyako, in a judgment, held that the prosecution had been able to establish the counts preferred against Kelvin Ezeigbe and Frank Azuekor, who were 1st and 2nd defendants, beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice Nyako held that the sentence would run from the day of their arrest.
The judge, however, discharged and acquitted Michael Omonigho and Momoh Haruna, who were 3rd and 4th defendants, of the counts leveled against them in the terrorism charge.
She held that though some of the counts against Ezeigbe and Azuekor attracted punishment ranging from death sentence, life imprisonment to at least 10 years jail term, she said she had found that the accused had been remorseful of their criminal act.
She said she also found that they had been in custody for about 10 years from the day of their arrest.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Omonigho, who was said to be the chief priest was in court, Haruna was not.
When Nyako warned Omonigho to be careful as people worship in his shrine in the open court, the chief priest responded thus: “I have repented my lord.”
The judge, however, directed that Haruna, who was at large, should be brought to court to face the sin of his escape from lawful custody, even though he was discharged of the counts against him.
The judge commended the defence lawyer, Bala Dakum, and the prosecution counsel, Chioma Onuegbu, for their industrious input in the course of the trial.
NAN reports that the defendants; Kelvin Ezeigbe, Frank Azuekor, Michael Omonigho, and Momoh Haruna were first arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a FHC, on June 9, 2014, on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.
While the three defendants were in court, Haruna was said to be missing after the attack on Kuje Correctional Centre by terrorists on July 5, 2022.
They were accused of committing acts of terrorism, contrary to Sections 1, 8, and 10 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.
They were alleged to have, on Aug. 23, 2013, kidnapped Mr. Ozekhome at Iruekpen on his way to Iviukwe in Agenebode, Edo.
Ozekhome was held in captivity for about three weeks before his release allegedly following the payment of N28 million ransom.
They were also accused of kidnapping Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Hope Eghagha; Attanasius Ugbme, and his friend, Emmanuel Maka Omorogbe, and killing five policemen and two prison officials.
The defendants were also alleged to have compelled Eghagha to pay N7 million, Ugbome paid N20 million, and Omorogbe to paid N3.5 million.
The five police officers allegedly killed were Paul Ajaka, Sunday Ewanshiha, Michael Akpada, Bakary Ekong, and Innocent Odoh.
They also allegedly killed Lawrence Edora and Oyibo Okoye who were prison officers and made away with their service rifles.
The four suspects were refused bail filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Bala Dakum.
While Ezeigbe and Azuekor were held at the facility of the Department of State Service, Omonigho and Haruna were held at Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja.
Kwara Gov receives VP Kashim Shettima in Ilorin hails peace harmony in Kwara
Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Saturday received Vice President Kashim Shettima (GCON) in Ilorin, the state capital, amid a rousing welcome by several APC leaders and people of the state.
Vice President Shettima was received by the Governor at the Tunde Idiagbon Airport, joined by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Rt Hon Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Sen Salihu Mustapha (Kwara Central); Sen. Sadiq Umar (North); some members of the state executive council; and CEO KAM Holdings Nigeria Alhaji Kamaru Yusuf.
The Vice President touched down at the airport at exactly 3p.m., accompanied by his Special Assistant on Political Matters Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; and top APC chieftain Dr. Isia’q Modibbo Kawu; among others.
Shettima headed to the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, where he commissioned the institution’s Nursing Science Complex, which has been named after him.
The Vice President then delivered the university’s 13th convocation lecture that was themed ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’.
Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Inspector General of Police IGP Kayode Egbetokun, who has just received his doctoral degree from the institution; founder of the University Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji (OFR); and Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Noah Yusuf.
Shettima, in his lecture, said Nigeria’s reliance on oil since the early 70s and the neglect of the agricultural sector are responsible for what has today become a national security challenge in the form of food insecurity.
He said the challenge assumed a disturbing proportion as a result of policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters, among others.
He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu understands the nexus between food production and national security, and has declared a state of emergency on food security alongside a policy commitment to improve productivity by injecting more funds in the sector.
Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the Federal Government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum, the vice president said.
He said no appreciable progress can be made in agricultural production without mechanization, calling for increased and efficient use of modern technology to maximise yield.
The Vice President described Governor AbdulRazaq as a prudent leader and commended him for various agricultural initiatives the administration has introduced to boost food production in the state.
Speaking about the cultural composition of Ilorin, which he said exemplifies a spirit of brotherhood, Shettima said Nigeria has a lot to learn from the ancient city, calling on all indigenes of Ilorin to continue to be tolerant and supportive of one another.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
December 9, 2023
Japa: Feel free to leave, Bishop Kukah tells Nigerian youths
The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has advised young Nigerians wishing to leave the country (the popular Japa syndrome) not to hesitate.
However, he prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.
Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday. It was the school’s convocation ceremony.
The Bishop said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.
“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.
“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.
“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”
Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.
According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.
“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.
“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.
“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.
He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.
‘How pilot delayed plane for me’
He narrated an experience: “I have a personal experience of coming late to catch a flight to Sokoto. I was the last person to get on the plane.
“Miraculously, the plane continued to wait and when I got to the aircraft, the pilot was waiting at the foot of the plane.
“I tried to take my seat and knelt to greet me. I was quite embarrassed because I had never seen this gentleman in my life. But he said, ‘Well, Bishop, I have to kneel and greet you because you are the one who recommended me over 10 years ago for the job as a pilot’.
“We never know as teachers. Do not fall victims to the claim that your rewards are in heaven. Your rewards are actually here and they will also be in heaven.”
He congratulated the management and staff of the university, headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ichoku Hyacinth.
Kukah said the VC’s outstanding leadership and qualities “have been very clearly enunciated on how far the university had travelled.
“We hope that this university will achieve the elasticity that all those who started with Veritas will be able to secure the place.”
He appealed to the bodies that regulate university admissions to expand the opportunity for some universities, including Veritas University so that they can contribute their quota to the education of the citizens.
… to parents
Turning to the parents and guardians, Kukah said: “As a chairman of the Council, I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that people have made. (I am) also taking notes of the rising amount of internally generated revenue without necessarily punishing anybody.
“These things, we don’t take for granted. I, therefore, salute the management and staff of Veritas University for their courage and determination in fulfilling their obligation.
“As Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Veritas University, we assure you of the unequivocal support of the council for the ongoing development of Veritas University.
“Once again, we appeal to you to please let your name be printed somewhere in this university. It doesn’t matter how big and how little. Step forward and make your commitment because it is through this that we can expand the frontier of knowledge through Veritas University.”
PHOTOS: El-Rufai, Former Emir Of Kano, Visit Kaduna Community Bombed By Army
The Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, have visited Tudun Biri in Kaduna State where villagers attending Maulud celebration were bombed on Sunday evening.
The village was struck by an accidental airstrike on Sunday during a Maulud celebration, resulting in the loss of scores of lives.
The two leaders joined other leaders from the Tijjaniyya Islamic sect for a visit to the village on Friday.
Sanusi is a spiritual leader in the Tijanniyah Sufi order of Nigeria.
Credit: X | MuyiwaAdekeye
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