The Plateau State High Court presided by Justice Daniel Longji has granted bail to 20 persons accused of involvement in the kidnap and murder of an army general.
A total of 28 persons were in October arrested for their alleged roles in the murder of Idris Alkali, a major general, who was declared missing on September 3. Mr Alkali was travelling from Abuja to Bauchi.
“I have carefully listened to the various submissions of all the counsels on bail applications. Under section 100, 138 and 148 of panel code, counts 3,4, and 5, which are hoarding information, unlawful assembly and resisting search of the body of missing general are bailable. Assuming the accused were found guilty of their offences, they would have finished their jail term by now,” the judge said,
“For the remaining suspects, I don’t have time to go through the arguments of all the counsel because the documents are very voluminous. I have to go through them.”.
Mr Longji granted the bail with the condition of N1 million each, alongside a surety of the status of a community leader who will swear to an affidavit and identify the accused.
The suspects were prosecuted on five counts bordering on culpable homicide, criminal conspiracy, hoarding of information, unlawful assembly and denying soldiers the right to search for the body of the missing general.
The car of the missing general was later found in a pond in Dura Du village of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Body parts believed to be those of Mr Alkali were later found in an abandoned well in Guchwet village of When district of Jos South LGA.
At the resumed hearing, the court read the charges to the 28 accused persons who all pleaded not guilty.
The court was to commence hearing on Monday on the bail applications by the counsel to all the defendants.
The prosecuting counsel and Plateau State Director of Public Prosecution, G. Fonyon, in his submission, asked the court to reject the bail application because the charge of culpable homicide was punishable with death.
“This is a culpable homicide and punishable by death,” he said adding that “the issue of whether or not to grant them bail is at the discretion of the judge.”
The defence counsel, Jorge Izere, had earlier asked the court to grant bail application to the accused persons pending the determination of the case.
“In view of our counter affidavit and written address, we are urging the court to grant them bail because no matter how weighty an offence, it is bailable. I urge the court to grant them bail,” he said.
The judge after granting bail to the 20 suspects, adjourned the matter to January 25 to decide the bail application of the remaining suspects.
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