Court remands 4 suspected kidnappers of UNIABUJA lecturers, children

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Four suspects allegedly involved in the kidnapping of University of Abuja (UniAbuja) lecturers and their children in 2021 was, on Monday, arraigned at a Federal High Court Abuja.

They were arraigned by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) before Justice Donatus Okorowo on a two-count terrorism charge.

Those arraigned are Adamu Abubakar; Nura Muhammed Ahmadu; Ismailia Abubakar and Abdulrahman Ado, also known as Yellow, as 1st to 4th defendants respectively.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the counts.

Prior to their arraignment, the four defendants signalled to the judge with intention to speak in the open court.

Justice Okorowo, though initially held that since their lawyer was in court, they can speak through their counsel, the judge, however, gave them the leave to express themselves following their insistence.

The suspects then told the court that since their arrest over two years ago, their families did not know their whereabouts.

They complained that they were subjected to inhuman treatment without food and proper care.

After they pleaded not guilty to the charge, AGF’s lawyer, David Kaswe, prayed the court to order their remand and sought a trial date.

However, their counsel, C.S. Nwaogu, urged the court to order that the defendants be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre based on their complaints.

He said this would allow their family members to have access to them.

But Kaswe disagreed with Nwaogu.

The government lawyer argued that due to the nature of the charge, the defendants should be remanded in the Department of State Service (DSS) custody.

Justice Okorowo, who ordered the defendants to be remanded in the DSS facility, adjourned the matter until July 24 for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that gunmen had, on Nov. 2, 2021, invaded the UniAbuja Staff Quarters in Gwagwalada and abducted six persons, including Professor Joseph Adavani, Dr Ferguson Tobins, among others.

The abductors, who contacted the families of the victims a day after their kidnap, demanded a ransom of N300 million.

But the Police Public Relations Officer of the FCT Command, DSP Josephine Adeh, on Nov. 5, 2021, confirmed their release.

According to her, the development followed the efforts of the command in a joint operation with other security agencies.

She also stated that some suspects linked to the crime had been nabbed by security operatives.

NAN reports that the Federal Government, through the Office of AGF, however, filed a two-count criminal charge against the four suspects.

The charge, dated July 5, 2023, was filed July 11, 2023 by Kaswe, the Chief State Counsel in the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation in the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The Federal Government said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 15 and 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act 2013. (NAN)

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