Court remands four vigilantes in prison for homicide

Vigilante group in Nigeria

The vigilant men are accused of killing a commercial motorcyclist.

A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday remanded four members of a vigilante group in prison for alleged homicide.

They are Philip Chia, Tersoo Likita, Emmanuel Terfa, and Tretese Azege; members of the vigilante group at Channel II, Sankera Unit, in Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State.

They are accused of killing a commercial motorcyclist, Terzungwe Dera.

The police prosecutor, Sunday Ameh, told the court that the case of culpable homicide was transferred from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Zaki-Biam to the state CID, Makurdi.

Mr. Ameh stated that the policemen at Zaki-Biam received information that some members of a vigilante group unlawfully arrested the deceased on allegation of theft of a motorcycle.

The prosecutor stated that the police informant disclosed that the deceased took the said motorcycle on hire purchase for N186, 000 since 2010 and had paid N182, 000 to the owner.

The informant told the police that the deceased, however, failed to pay the balance of N4, 000 on the agreed date, making the owner to report a case of theft to the vigilante group.

Mr. Ameh said that instead of the group, which was supposed to protect lives and property, to investigate the matter thoroughly, they took the law into their hands.

Mr. Ameh alleged that the accused persons unlawfully tied up the deceased’s hands and legs, confined him to their office and tortured him for ten and a half hours without food or water.

He said the deceased died in the custody of the group as a result of the torture.

Mr. Ameh further said that the accused persons were arrested in connection with the crime during police investigation.

He said the offence contravened Sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code.

When the case came up for mention before a Makurdi Chief Magistrate’s Court, the pleas of the accused persons were not taken for want of jurisdiction.

The prosecutor said that investigation into the matter was still in progress and asked the court for another date for further mention.

The chief magistrate, Theresa Wergba, ordered that the accused persons be remanded and adjourned the matter to April 19, for further mention.


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