A Lokoja, Kogi State Chief Magistrates’ Court has ordered the remand of Etila Ajeka, the Onu of Egume, and 18 others in prison over the murder of Isa Edimeh, a former Director of Radio Nigeria.
The Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku, gave the order on Monday when the accused appeared before him, charged with the murder on May 27.
Ajeka, 70, and others are facing a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, trespass and culpable homicide contrary to Sections 97(1), 348 and 221 of the Penal Code.
The prosecutor, Samuel Ikutanwa, had told the court that Edime’s wife, Mary, reported the matter at the Divisional Police Office at Egume on May 27.
Ikutanwa said: “Mary and her husband were watching television in their sitting room when the accused persons and others now at large stormed the room with dangerous weapons.
“The accused came in a Toyota Sienna bus and pointed guns at Edimeh, seized and dragged him into the bus and drove away.
“Mary was going to lodge complaint at the police station when she got information that the corpse of her husband had been discovered lying by the roadside at Abadigba village on Egume-Anyingba road.”
Ikutanwa said investigation into the case was ongoing and asked for another date for mention.
He urged the court not to grant bail to the accused persons, adding that the offence was the highest known crime to Nigerian laws.
Ikutanwa urged the court to remand the accused in prison.
Counsel to the accused persons, led by Alfred Akpala, urged the court to grant the accused persons bail.
Akpala said an accused, in line with Section 36(5) of the Constitution and 341(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code, was presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Animokun said it was hard for 19 persons to enter a Sienna vehicle along with the deceased and the culprits at large.
He said: “But in view of the horrifying nature of the offence, I decline to grant bail to the accused persons.”
Animokun said the presumption of innocence guaranteed an accused was not absolute and ordered that the accused be remanded at Federal Prisons, Dekina.
He, however, transferred the case to the Chief Magistrate Court in Dekina (where the murder took place) and adjourned it to June 9 for further mention in Dekina.