The Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court I and II on Wednesday granted bail to 67 suspects, including two juveniles standing trial for alleged attempted armed robbery and kidnapping.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 65 of the suspects had spent one week at the Federal Prisons, Koton-Karfe and Okene. The two juveniles were granted bail and moved to the family court.
At Lokoja Chief Magistrates’ Court I which handled a batch of 34 cases, including the two juveniles, Levi Animoku, the presiding chief magistrate, said the accused had undertaken to comply with the bail conditions.
All the accused were charged with three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, attempt to commit armed robbery and kidnapping, contrary to Section 97 (1) and 95 of penal code, as well as Section 3 of the Kogi kidnapping and other related offences prohibition law 2015.
Mr. Animoku, who perused the dispositions of the various affidavits presented by counsel to the accused, said the accused were presumed innocent until proved otherwise.
He, however, said that bail was not a discharge or acquittal of the accused of the charges preferred against them; saying, “Gladly enough, the prosecution has given voice in favour of the bail of the accused.
“Each accused is released on bail in the sum of N20,000 with a reliable surety in like sum,” he said.
Mr. Animoku said the sureties must be either civil servants or members of staff of Dangote Cement Company or a notable businessman with evidence of means of livelihood and who resides in Lokoja or its environs.
Also, at Lokoja Chief Magistrate Court II, the presiding chief magistrate, Alhassan Hussaini, granted bail to 33 of the suspects alleged to have criminally conspired and attempted to commit armed robbery and kidnapping.
The accused were arrested by a combined team of police, the army, State Security Services, SSS, and National Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, during a raid in Obajana on October10.
According to the Police First Information Report (FIR), the combined team of security agents, on a tip-off, arrested the accused in Obajana.
The prosecution said the accused and others now at large conspired, formed and belonged to a gang of thieves responsible for several theft, robbery and kidnapping operations within Obajana-Kabba area and its environs.
It also said that the accused were seen at their criminal hideouts at Obajana while preparing to carry out robbery and kidnapping operations within Obajana and its environs.
The prosecution also told the court that a combined team of the police, the army, SSS and NSCDC swung into action, stormed the various criminal hideouts and arrested the accused while others escaped.
It said that other members of the gang that escaped killed two police officers: Gini John, a sergeant and Ezekiel Negedu, an inspector, in a reprisal attack on October 23 at about 5 p.m.
The prosecution also said that the accused carted away AK-47 riffles belonging to the slain police officers and kidnapped one Portuguese national, Jose Machada, to an unknown destination and yet to be released.
The case has been adjourned till November 23 for mention.