Monday, May 27, 2024

Nigeria: Court Jails Kidnappers of Mike Ozekhome for 20 Years

A federal high court in Abuja has sentenced Kelvin Ezeiegbe and Frank Azuekor to 20 years imprisonment for the abduction of a human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, and the murder of six security operatives, according to the Cable.

Ozekhome, a law professor and senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was abducted alongside his driver on August 23, 2013, at the Ehor stretch of the Benin-Auchi highway, Edo State.

Four police officers who responded to Ozekhome’s abduction were ambushed and killed by the convicts.

The convicts were first arraigned alongside two others — Michael Omonigho and Haruna Momoh — on a 13-count charge in June 2014.

Ezeiegbe and Azuekor were tried for conspiracy to commit terrorist acts, kidnapping of persons, inciting persons to commit act of terrorism, recruitment and abetting escape while Omonigho and Momoh were prosecuted for conspiracy and kidnapping.

Delivering judgement yesterday, Binta Nyako, the presiding judge, said the prosecution failed to substantiate allegations of conspiracy and kidnapping against Omonigho and Momoh.

The judge, however, ordered the police to arrest Momoh and put him on trial for escaping from lawful custody during the Kuje prison break in 2022.

Ezeiegbe and Azuekor were found guilty.

Giving evidence during the trial, Ozekhome said he was held hostage for three weeks and was only released after he paid a N40 million ransom.

The judge said Ozekhome’s “testimony was central to the prosecution’s evidence”.

Nyako also relied on a letter from the Delta commissioner for justice to the attorney-general of the federation which said Azuekor was indicted for a crime in the state prior to his arrest for kidnapping Ozekhome.


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