Samuel Awoyinfa

Thirteen suspected smugglers were on Friday re-arraigned by the police before a Magistrate Court sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, for allegedly kidnapping a customs officer, Abdul-Rasheed Salami, who was attached to the Federal Operations Unit in Ikeja, Lagos.

They were re-arraigned in a suit marked MA/797C/2018 with three consolidated charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and malicious damage punishable under sections 516, 364 and 451 (B) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State.

The suspects are, Ojewale Abiodun (22), Idowu Ogundepo (32), Saheed Akanbi (33), Oladele Dayo (34), Raji Jamiu (38), Bankole Akeem (20) and Sanni Saheed (44).

Others are Bukola Tosin (30), Akintola Hammed (20), Olufemi Odedipe (44), Fatai Adesina (34), Owolabi Mustapha (39) and Hassan Rofiat(22), who is the only female among the suspects.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In the second charge, the suspects on April 14 allegedly conspired and kidnapped the customs officer at Ilo-Ilawe,  near Toll Gate, Sango Ota, in Ado Odo/Ota Local Government Area.

The count three alleged that the suspects also destroyed Hilux and Hummer buses which belonged to the Nigeria Customs Service.

The charge read, “That you (suspects) did willfully and unlawfully destroyed customs official vehicles, Hilux with Reg/No, AP 80 CS and Hummer Bus with Reg/No. AQ 74 CS driven Abdulrasheed Salami and Abdul-Hammed and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 451 (b) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.”

In their submissions, Counsel for the defendants, urged the court to allow them to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted in the suit marked MA/347/2018.

The prosecutor, Bale Nimnan, in his response did not oppose the application.

He, however, asked the court to begin the hearing immediately, saying his witnesses were present in court.

Three Customs officers and the Investigating Police Officer in charge of the case were lined up as witnesses.

In his ruling, Magistrate Titi Bello, granted the counsel’s prayers and adjourned the case till December 18, 2018, for hearing.

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