Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday ordered the remand of five men accused of abducting some pupils and staff of Nigeria Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State.
The federal government arraigned the defendants on a five-count charge bordering on involvement in the acts of hostage taking, receiving ransom and acts of terrorism.
The crime carries life sentence under the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act, 2013.
The defendants are- Bekewei Agbojule, Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, Godspower Olopele, Toki Okuba and Super-Allen Baye.
The defendants were arraigned for the alleged kidnap of some pupils and members of staff of the college onJanuary 13.
In the five-count charge, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves and with others at large to commit the offence.
It said further that they demanded N800 million as ransom after abducting and detaining their victims.
They were said to have later reduced the amount to N50 million which they allegedly received before releasing the victims.
It will be recalled that the defendants were brought to court on June 20 for arraignment but the arraignment was stalled due to the absence of an interpreter.
The defendants had told the court that they only understood pidgin English very well.
At the resumed hearing, the prosecuting counsel, Aminu Alilu, informed the court that the interpreter was present and urged the court to read the charges for the defendants in order for the defendants to take their plea.
When the charges were read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution applied that the defendants be remanded in prison custody to await their trial.
The defendants were however not represented by a counsel.
Justice Tsoho, in a short ruling, ordered the remand of the defendants in prison custody and adjourned the matter until September 28 for commencement of trial.
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