A lecturer was murdered in Kogi State polytechnic.
A Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court 1 has on Tuesday remanded 20 students of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja, in prison, over alleged rioting and murder of their lecturer, Nathaniel Abimaje.
The Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku, gave the order when the accused persons were arraigned before him.
He said that the offence of culpable homicide with which they were charged carried death penalty under Section 221 of the Penal Code and was not bailable.
The Police Prosecutor, Samuel Ikutanwa, told the court that the accused were armed with dangerous weapons.
He listed the weapons to include axe, guns and cutlasses.
He said, “On April 19, the accused incited some unidentified students of the institution to riot.
“They were protesting the setting up of a panel to look into the cases of examination malpractice.
“During the rampage, the accused allegedly beat and stabbed Abimaje severally and left him in a pool of his blood.
“The lecturer was rushed to the Specialist Hospital, Lokoja, but died before he could receive medical attention,” Mr. Ikutanwa said.
He urged the court to remand the accused in prison pending the conclusion of the investigations.
Mr. Ikutanwa said that investigations had revealed that a long-standing dispute between Igala and Ebira students in the institution also fuelled the crisis.
The accused were also charged with criminal conspiracy, inciting, disturbance of public peace and rioting. He said the offence was contrary to various sections of the Penal Code.
The students, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Leading other counsel for the accused, J.E. Usman made oral application for their bail.
He asked the court to exercise its discretion “judicially and judiciously” on the presumption that they remained innocent until proven otherwise.
In his ruling, Mr. Animoku said that he had no discretion to exercise in the matter as the offence was a capital one.
He said that section 35(7) (a) of the 1999 Constitution (Amended) provides that presumption of innocence was not absolute, especially in a case of culpable homicide.
Mr. Animoku ordered that the accused be remanded at Federal Prisons, Kabba.
He adjourned the case to May 21 for further mention.