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FG arraigns suspected murderers of Imo monarch in court

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The Federal Government on Tuesday arraigned four suspected terrorists who allegedly kidnapped and killed the traditional ruler of Amanze Obowo Autonomous Community of Imo State, Eze Basil Njoku.

ROYAL NEWS gathered that the suspects were at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN put them on trial before Justice Binta Nyako on five count amended charges.

The AGF through his counsel, David Kaswe, invoked sections 174 of the 1999 Constitution and 105 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 to assume trial of the terrorism charges.

The four defendants are; Jude Iheme, Chika Madukwe, Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke.

The defendants were accused of killing the monarch on December 17, 2022 while coming from the Federal Medical Center, Umuahia after kidnapping and collecting a ransom of N4M cash from his family.

In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/575/2024, the defendants alongside others said to be at large were said to have conspired to commit felony to wit, acts of terrorism contrary to section 26 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.

They were also said to have armed themselves with guns and offensive weapons, attacked, kidnapped and killed the traditional ruler on December 17, 2022.

Government also accused them of failing to volunteer information at their disposal to security agencies which could have led to apprehension of other kidnappers contrary to section 16 of the same Terrorism Act.

When the charges were read to them before Justice Binta Nyako, they pleaded not guilty.

Lead counsel to the defendants, Solomon Akume SAN had sought to move bail application for his clients, it was however opposed by the prosecution counsel on the ground that he needed to react to some issues.

Justice Nyako has however fixed June 20 for hearing of applications and commencement of trial.

The Judge ordered that the defendants be remanded at Kuje prison pending the hearing and determination of their respective bail applications.

Iheme, 52 years of Amagwu Amanze Obowo local government area of Imo and Madukwe, 42 years of Ndi-Uche Etiti Omuimo local government area also of Imo State, were said to have killed the traditional ruler on December 17, 2022..

Part of the charge read “That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years ago and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja during the police investigation of offence of kidnapping and terrorism of the Royal Eze, Basil Njoku conspired and brought false accusations with intent to cause Nwigwe Emeka Williams to be charged with kidnapping and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act.

“That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja with intent to mislead the police investigators in the case of kidnap and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you gave false information to the investigators that a drunk man informed you that Nwigwe Emeka Williams is responsible for the kidnap and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku Knowing or having reason to know that information you gave to police investigators is false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act 2004.

“That you Nwokorie Chidiebere Ejike, 45 years ago and Victor Nwajuiba Obumneke, 39 years all of Ehume in Obowo LGA of Imo State between June to August 2023 at Zone 9 Police Headquarters at Umuahia and Special Tactical Squad, Abuja during the police investigation of offence of kidnapping and terrorism of the Royal Eze, Basil Njoku conspired and brought false accusations with intent to cause Nwigwe Emeka Williams to be charged with kidnapping and terrorism of Eze Basil Njoku, you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 125 of the Criminal Code Act.

“That you Jude Iheme ‘M’ 56 yrs of Amagwu Amanze Obowo LGA of Imo state, Chika Madukwe ‘M’ 42 years of Ndi-Uche Etiti Omuimo LGA Imo State and others now at large on about the 17th December, 2022 at 71/2 junction Umumegwu Amanze village Obowo LGA Imo state within the jurisdiction of this court while acting in concert conspired together to commit Felony to wit: acts of terrorism and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 26 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you Jude Iheme ‘M’ 56 yrs of Amagwu Amanze Obowo LGA of Imo state, Chika Madukwe ‘M’ 42 years of Ndi-Uche Etiti Omuimo LGA of Imo State and others now at large on about the 17th December, 2022 at 71/2 junction Umumegwu – Amanze village Obowo LGA of Imo state within the jurisdiction of this court while acting in concert and armed with guns and other offensive weapons attacked, kidnapped and killed HRH Eze Basil Njoku of Amanze Obowo Autonomous Community in Imo State on his way from Federal Medical Centre Umuahia having collected a ransom of N4,000,000.00 (four million naira) from his family and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 2(2) (f) of Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you Jude Iheme ‘M’ 56 yrs of Amagwu Amanze Obowo LGA of Imo state, Chika Madukwe ‘M’ 42 years of Ndi-Uche Etiti Omuimo LGA of Imo State and others now at large on about the 20th December, 2022 at Amanze village Obowo LGA of Imo state within the jurisdiction of this court while acting in concert and having information through your communication with the kidnappers that HRH Eze Basil Njoku of Amanze Obowo Autonomous Community in Imo State was attacked and kidnapped on his way from Federal Medical Centre Umuahia which information was material to the apprehension of the kidnappers, you failed to immediately disclosed the information to relevant agencies and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 16(1)(b) of Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

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