9 March 2012

Nigeria: Two Policemen, Five Others Arraigned for Kidnapping

Two policemen were among seven accused persons arraigned for kidnapping in Uyo on Friday.

The suspects, arraigned before Justice Eno Isangedighi, include Walter Jack Udo, Udo Okon Etim, Etido Okon Nyong, Edem Effiong Okon and Udo Moses Udoh.

The policemen arraigned with them were Cpl. Saturday Okorie and Cpl. Friday Udoh.

However, Umoh Ignatius Ukpong, the eighth accused person, who was arrested alongside the seven others, was reported to have died in police custody.

The suspects were alleged to have on Aug. 1, 2011, abducted Dr. Ini Ukpong Enang at N0. 7 Medical Avenue, Afaha Ube Itam, Uyo, and on Nov. 25, 2011, abducted Mr Mohammed Umara at Mbikpong Village in Ibesikpo Local Government Area of the state.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Iniobong George, said the suspects were involved in conspiracy to commit felony contrary to Section 556(1) (f), Cap.38, Vol.2, Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria 2000.

George also alleged that the suspects contravened Section 1(2) of the Akwa Ibom Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.

He said the suspects breached Section 556(1) (f) of the Criminal Code, Cap.38, Vol.2, Laws of Akwa Ibom and Section 1(2) of the Akwa Ibom Internal Security and Enforcement Law, 2009.

However, the defence counsel for the first, second, fifth and sixth accused persons, Mr. Ekere Ebong, said he was not served the charges.

"It is unfair to hurriedly arraign suspects in court without serving them and their counsel the information sheet which contains the charges and offences allegedly committed by them," Ekere-Ekong said.

Consequently, the judge ordered the prosecution to serve the suspects and their lawyers the information sheet before the close of work on Friday.

Isangedighi while adjourning the matter till March 12 for further hearing, ordered that the accused persons, who have been in police custody, be remanded in prison custody.

Meanwhile , the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Assam Assam (SAN) has assured the people of the state of the government's commitment to prosecute all pending criminal cases, especially kidnap cases.

Assam said that the Gov. Godswill Akpabio's administration had renewed its drive toward ending the era of fear and terror in the state.

The commissioner said that no stone would be left unturned to achieve the objective.

"We will get our village heads, justices of peace and youth leaders in various communities to be part of the move to secure lives and property.

"We shall not let go any traditional ruler who allows his community to be used to harbour kidnappers or kidnap victims.

"He will be held responsible for any crime committed within his domain and he will be arraigned along with the suspects," Assam warned.


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