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15 suspects remanded for alleged kidnapping, murder in Makurdi

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A Makurdi Upper Area  Court on Thursday, ordered the remand of  15 persons in a correction centre for allegedly kidnapping four persons and killing one.

The suspects who reside at various addresses in Utonkon in Ado Local Government Area of Benue, were charged with criminal conspiracy, kidnapping and culpable homicide.

However, the Magistrate, Mr Vershima Hwande did not take their plea for want of jurisdiction.

Hwande adjourned the matter until Feb. 27 for further mention.

Earlier, the Prosecution Counsel, Asp Veronica Shaagee told the court that the case was transferred from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Obarike, Ito, in Obi Local Government Area via a letter dated Jan. 3 to the State CID, Makurdi on the same date.

Shaagee said the letter stated that Rev. Fr. Simon Ogbaji and Mr Akpo Ajah had reported the matter at the Obarike Police Station on Jan 2.

The complainants said that some group of kidnappers numbering about 20 attacked and kidnapped four members of their family.

They stated that the kidnapped persons were Joyce Ajunwa, Benjamin Ajunwa, Michelle Ajunwa and Onyeje Ogwuche.

The complainants said that the victims were kidnapped at Opirikwu/Ijegwu road in Obi Local Government Area to an unknown destination.

They further stated that in the process of struggling, the kidnappers inflicted various degrees of injuries on one of the victims, Peter Ajunwa and left him in a state of coma.

The Prosecutor said that sequel to the report, the joint operations in conjunction with the police, military and Benue Volunteer Guard swung into action in search of the kidnappers.

She said the joint security operatives received further information that the kidnappers were seen at Obusa Village in Oju Local Government Area of Benue.

The prosecutor said that on sighting the security operatives, the kidnappers opened fire which resulted in some of them sustaining gunshot wounds.

She said the victim was rushed to the Benue State University Teaching Hospital but was later confirmed dead by the medical practitioners

Shaagee said 15 of the suspected kidnappers were arrested at Obusa in connection with the crimes.

She said the offences contravened sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue, 2004 and 3(2) of Abduction, Hostage -Taking, Kidnapping, Secrete Cult and Similar Activities Prohibition Laws of Benue, 2017.

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Crime

Navy impounds illicit drugs, nabs 3 suspects in A’Ibom

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The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Akwa Ibom, says it has impounded some illicit drugs and arrested three suspected drug dealers in the state.

The Commanding Officer, Capt. Uche Aneke, disclosed this in Ibaka on Thursday while handing over the suspects to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA)

Aneke said that the suspects were tracked and arrested at about 10.00a.m on Tuesday, following reliable intelligence from a member of the public.
He said that they were caught on a fibre boat carrying about 4,320 ampoules of Pethidine 100mg/2ml injection solution, a controlled synthetic opioid substance with high addiction potential.
”The intended receiver is located in Nigeria. So they wanted to smuggle the substances from Cameroon to Nigeria.
The commanding officer said that the navy was strongly committed to ridding the waterways of all manner of criminal activities.
”We shall continue to deploy advanced technologies to detect criminal activities along the waterways,” he said.
Receiving the suspects, Emmanuel Okon, Chief Superintendent of Narcotics, NDLEA command in Akwa Ibom, said that a thorough investigation would carried out on the matter.
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Crime

Alleged $9.6bn P&ID scam: Hearing in EFCC’s suit against fleeing Briton stalled

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Hearing in two separate money laundering suits filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against British national, James Nolan, could not proceed on Wednesday at a Federal High Court, Abuja.

The matter, which was scheduled for adoption of final written addresses of parties by Justice Donatus Okorowo, suffered setback due to failure of Nolan’s counsel, Michael Ajara, to file and serve his processes on the EFCC”s lawyer, Bala Sanga.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Okorowo had, on Nov. 20, 2023, fixed today for adoption of the final addresses after Nolan, who jumped bail and fled Nigeria in the alleged 9.6 billion dollars Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) Ltd scandal, opened his defence in absentia without calling any witness.

Ajara had told the judge that he did not intend to call any witness upon resumed hearing in the matter in the last adjourned date.

He said after his evaluation of the EFCC’s evidence, he would rely on the case of the prosecution and Sanga did not object, upon which the matter was fixed for today.

When the matter was called on Wednesday, Ajara had not filed their final written address.

The lawyer prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him do the needful.

The anti-graft agency’s lawyer, Christie Makar, who held Sanga’s brief, did not oppose the oral application.

Justice Okorowo consequently adjourned the matter until May 6 for adoption of final written addresses.

NAN reports that the EFCC is prosecuting Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited and Nolan in the charged marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/272/2022 as 1st and 2nd defendants in the case.

Also, the commission is also prosecuting the sister case marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/273/2022 filed against Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd, another company, and Corrado Fantoli as 1st and 2nd defendants respectively before Okorowo.

Fantoli, also a foreigner and an associate of Nolan, was one of the suspects behind the alleged $9.6 billion P&ID fraud.

The suspect, said to be at large, alongside the company, was arraigned in absentia on Nov. 25, 2022, on eight-count money laundering charge.

He was not present in court or represented by a lawyer when they were arraigned.

The court also declared him wanted and ordered for his arrest anywhere he is sighted after Sanga made application to the effect.

Fantoli and Giovanna Beccarelli, who had also been declared wanted and an arrest warrant issued against her, were said to be directors and signatories to the company’s Guaranty Trust Bank account number: 0123849451.

Resorts Express Concept Nigeria Ltd and Trinity Biotech Nigeria Limited are two of the over 30 companies associated with the $9.6 billion scam.

NAN reports that other cases linked to the scandal are currently before Justice Ahmed Mohammed, Justice Obiora Egwuatu, Justice Zainab Abubakar of FHC, Abuja, besides other charges at FCT High Courts.

A Business and Property Court in London presided over by Justice Robin Knowles of the Commercial Courts of England and Wales had, in October, quashed the 11 billion dollars awarded against Nigeria in a case filed by the P&ID.

Judge Knowles held that the award was obtained by fraud and that what had happened in the case was contrary to public policy.

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NAF bombs terrorists hideouts in Borno

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The Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai, OPHK, and the Nigerien Air Force on Tuesday eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their hideouts in Damasak and Mobbar local government areas of Borno State.

A statement by the Director, Public Relations and Information of NAF, AVM Edward Gabkwet, on Wednesday in Abuja, said that the interdictions were under the Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNJTF.

Gabkwet said the terrorists had attempted to attack troops of Sector 4 of the MNJTF at Lada, a border town between Niger Republic and Nigeria, and subsequently fled across the border into Nigeria.

According to him, the fleeing terrorists who were on eight motorcycles were later tracked to two locations in Zarri village, about 28 kilometers east of Damasak and Mala Alide in Mobbar areas of Borno.

He further stated that they were observed hibernating in the village with their motorcycles hidden under trees.

“Subsequently, airstrikes from the Air Component of OPHK and Nigerien Air Force, under the watchful eye of Niger’s Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, struck the terrorists’ locations.

“Real-time ISR footage later confirmed numerous terrorists were eliminated and several structures within the targeted areas destroyed.

“Collaborative efforts of this nature have continued to yield positive outcomes on both sides of the border.

“It has also led to the reduction in terrorism and other forms of cross-border crimes perpetrated by criminals crisis-crossing the borders to evade justice,” he added.

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