Three Remanded Over Alleged Killing At Wake Ceremony in Benue

A Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Monday, ordered the remand of three persons in the correctional centre over the alleged killing of one Titus Elaigwu at the wake of a deceased.

The court, which lacks jurisdiction to hear a case of murder, did not take the pleas of the defendants — Itodo Okoh, Michael Akoh and Bernard Monday.

The defendants, all residents of Ugboju, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue, are being prosecuted by the police for alleged criminal conspiracy, membership in an unlawful society, terrorism and culpable homicide.

The Chief Magistrate, Kelvin Mbanongun, adjourned the matter until March 15 for further mention.

Earlier, the prosecution counsel, Insp Jonah Uletu, told the court that the defendants were members of a gang, one of whose members, Adole Okopi (a.k.a. Skull father), was arraigned in 2023.

Mr Uletu said that the case was transferred from the Divisional Police Headquarters, Ogoli Division, on May 10, 2023, to the state CID, Makurdi, via a letter dated May 8, 2023.

The prosecutor said that the village head of Efeyi Ipole in Ugboju, Peter Ogwuche, reported the case at the Ogoli Police Station on March 25, 2023.

He said, “On that day, the villagers and visitors from other places were seated at the wake in honour of one Johnson Abilama when gunmen numbering about 10 invaded the venue and started shooting sporadically.

“In the process, the gunmen killed Mr Elaigwu, the youth leader of Ogaluwa Ugboju, on the spot.

“The invaders were known to be members of the Viking Confraternity cult group that had been terrorising Efeyi and its environs,” Mr Uletu said.

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He said that during the investigation, Mr Okopi (a.k.a. skull father) was arrested in early 2023 and arraigned before the court.

He added that the suspects, who were at large, had just been arrested in connection with the crimes.

The prosecutor alleged that the suspects, during the police investigation, voluntarily confessed to being members of the Vikings Confraternity cult group.

He said the offences contravened Sections 97 and 222 of the Penal Code Laws of Benue, 2004 and Section 11(2) of the Abduction, Hostage-Taking, Kidnapping, Secret cult and Similar Activities Prohibition Law of Benue, 2017.

(NAN)

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