Friday, March 3, 2017 6:36 pm
A 31-year-old university dropout, Dick Onuku, who allegedly kidnapped one Makama Adamu, and collected 12 million from his family, is to remain in prison pending the determination of his case.
A Chief Magistrate, Mr Levi Animoku, gave the order in Lokoja after rejecting the suspect’s bail application.
He described the crime as heinous, and declared that kidnapping was “one of the horrifying social vices prevalent in the society, especially Kogi”.
“It has often led to deaths of innocent Nigerian citizens,’’ he stressed.
He said that the presumption of innocence, as argued by G.O. Adih, counsel to the accused, was not absolute.
“The offence carries high penalty and the propensity to elope justice is high.
“Therefore, bail is refused. The accused shall be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe,’’ he stated.
Animoku adjourned the case to April 4, for mention.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Mohammed Abaji, in his objection to the bail application, had urged the court to take cognizance of the severe nature of the case.
He said that the accused, in the company of others, now at large, while armed with dangerous weapons, including guns and cutlasses, kidnapped Adamu, a resident of Otukpo road, at Opulega in Ankpa Local Government of Kogi.
He said that the accused, who gave his address as Theo Plaza, Duste Alaji, FCT, Abuja committed the offence on February 13.
Abaji said that Onuku and his gang forcefully abducted Adamu, blindfolded and took him to an unknown destination from where they put a phone call to the family, demanding N12 million as ransom.
“Investigation led to the arrest of the accused, who made a confessional statement on how the operation was planned, executed and how the ransom of N12 million was shared among the members,’’ the prosecutor said.
Abaji told the court that the accused was a student of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, but was later withdrawn.
He said that the offence contravened Section 97(1), 305 of the Penal Code and 4(3) of the Kogi State Kidnapping and Other Related Offences (Prohibition) Law, 2015.
The accused, however, pleaded not guilty, while his counsel, Adih, applied for his bail pursuant to the provisions of Section 36(5) of the Constitution and 341(2 and 3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
Under Kogi State laws, kidnapping attracts life imprisonment on conviction.