A Magistrate’s Court sitting in Lokoja yesterday remanded a traditional ruler and 18 others for allegedly killing a veteran journalist, Chief Isa Edimeh, and Muhammed Wada, all of Ojikpadala Egume village in Dekina local government of Kogi state.
The 70-year-old suspect, Alhaji Etila Ajeka who is the monarch of Egume, Muhammed Abdul, Ibrahim Salifu, Hassan Ocheni, Ocheni Salifu, Samson Achem amongst others all of Egume were alleged to have conspired and killed Chief Isa Edimeh and Muhammed Bawa on May 27, 2014, at Ojikpadala Egume village in Dekina local government.
Chief Magistrate Levi Animoku who ordered that they be remanded upon their arraignment by the police, charged them with criminal conspiracy, trespass and culpable homicide contrary to Cections 97(1), 348 and 221 of the Penal Code Law, respectively.
The police prosecutor, Bar. Samuel Ikutanwa, said on May 27, one Mrs Mary Edime of Ojikpadala Egume village reported at the Divisional Police office at Egume and Department of Criminal Investigation, Lokoja,
that at about 8:10 pm on the same date, while she and her husband were watching television in their sitting room, the accused persons and others at large stormed the room with dangerous weapons.
He said: “The accused persons armed themselves with Ak 47 rifles, cutlasses and axes loaded themselves inside Toyota Seina bus, invaded their compound, entered the sitting room and pointed the guns at her husband and forcefully dragged him into the bus and drove him to unknown destination.”
Ikutanwa said while Mrs Edimeh was going to the police to lodge a complaint, she got information that her husband’s corpse was lying at Abadigba village along Egume Anyingba road.
He further said investigation led to the arrest of the suspects, while two cell phones and 31 expended empty shells of AK 47 rifle were recovered from them, alleging that the accused persons also killed one Muhammed Bawa.
The prosecutor, therefore, urged the court not to grant them bail due to the nature of the offense which carry death penalty.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges, but their counsels, led by Bar. Alfred Shehu Akpala, urged the court to grant them bail “because an accused is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”
Akpala argued that 19 persons could not kill the deceased at same time and that the police merely prepared the First Information Report (FIR) to punish the suspects.
Chief Magistarte Levi Animoku while ruling said under Section 341 (1) Criminal Procedure Code, a court was precluded from granting bail to an accused person of an offence punishable with death.
He, however, adjourned the case to June 9, for further mentioning and ordered that the accused person be remanded at the Federal Prisons, Dekina, and transferred the case to Chief Magistrate’s Court, Dekina, for mentioning.
Chief Isa Edime who retired from the FRCN as Executive Director was killed by gunmen on May 27, at his Ojikpadala Egume village.