By Bimbo Akindunbi & Bamidele Kolawole
Five persons believed to be Fulani herdsmen who allegedly kidnapped Chief Olu Falae, a one time Secretary to the Government of the Federation, were yesterday ordered to be remanded at Olokuta Prison by a State High Court sitting in Akure.
The accused persons are: Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibrahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal.
The accused, who appeared to be within the age range of 19 and 22 years were whisked into the premises of the court at about 12: 30 pm by heavily armed men of the Force CID Abuja and the State Police Command.
They are standing trial on a five-count charge of conspiracy, aiding and abetting, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit armed robbery .
According to the prosecution, the accused persons committed the offences at Kajola/Eyinala community in Akure Judicial Division on September 21, 2015.
The offences committed were contrary to and punishable under sections 6(b) and 9 (2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act, Capt RII, Vol. 14, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
The accused persons were also alleged of robbing Chief Olu Falae of the cash sum of N15, 000 and dispossessed him of his handset while armed with guns, cutlasses and other dangerous weapon.
However, the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the count charge read to them.
The State Counsel, Barrister Adelola Adeyemi-Tuki, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) asked the court for an adjournment.
Barrister Adeyemi-Tuki led the prosecution team with Barr Bunmi Arajuwa (DCP- DPP) Koyenikan, Jumoke Ogunyebi, Taiwo Ope, Senior Legal Officer including ASP Aderemi Ajibola, State Police Legal Counsel and ASP Enweremi, from Force CID headquarters, in Abuja.
The accused counsel, Barr.Abdulhahman Yusuf did not oppose the application made by the state counsel.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice William Olamide ordered the remand of the accused persons in Olokuta prison custody.
He thereafter adjourned the matter till November 10, 2015.
Prior to their arraignment, two of the five accused persons, Idris Lawal and Umaru Ibrahim, while fielding questions from journalists, admitted that they got the share of N100,000 each from the N5million ransom.
The accused who spoke in Hausa dialect, but interpreted by an official of the Force CID, Abuja, confirmed that eight of them kidnapped the elder statesman, while they spent five days in the bush, but denied being members of the Boko Haram sect.
According to Lawal, who claimed he is from Kastina was given N100,000, which he had spent, saying they only communicated with the gang leader on phone.
Also Ibrahim, the fifth accused confessed that he was given N100,000, but said he used N60,000 to offset debt, while he spent the remaining N40,000 on other things.
An authoritative police source from Force CID, Abuja, further disclosed to journalists that the sum of N823,900 including the handsets used to negotiate the ransom was found in the boot of Abubakar Anta, the first accused’s car in Niger State.