Four Men Convicted for kidnapping SAN Mike Ozekhome

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has convicted and sentenced two of the four defendants accused of kidnapping Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to a 20-year-jail term each, per AIT reports.

Justice Binta Nyako, in her judgment on Friday found Kelvin Ezeigbe and Frank Azuekor, who were 1st and 2nd defendants, guilty of the kidnapping.

AIT reports that the defendants were said to have, on August 23 2013, kidnapped Mike Ozekhome at Iruekpen on his way to Iviukwe in Agenebode, Edo State Ozekhome was held in captivity for about three weeks before his release, allegedly after the payment of N40 million ransom.

They were also accused of kidnapping Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof Hope Eghagha one Attanasius Ugbme and his friend, Emmanuel Maka Omorogbe, and killing five policemen and two prison officials.

The defendants are also alleged to have compelled Eghagha to pay N7 million in ransom, Ugbome paid N20 million and Omorogbe N3.5 million.

The five police officers reported killed were Paul Ajaka, Sunday Ewanshiha, Michael Akpada, Bakary Ekong and Innocent Odoh.

They also allegedly killed Lawrence Edora and Oyibo Okoye who were prison officers and made away with their service rifles.

The defendants are also alleged to have compelled Eghagha to pay N7 million in ransom, Ugbome paid N20 million and Omorogbe N3.5 million.

The five police officers reported killed were Paul Ajaka, Sunday Ewanshiha, Michael Akpada, Bakary Ekong and Innocent Odoh.

They also allegedly killed Lawrence Edora and Oyibo Okoye who were prison officers and made away with their service rifles.

The four suspects were refused bail filed on their behalf by their lawyer, Bala Dakum.

Justice Nyako found the 1st and 2nd defendants guilty of the kidnapping charge but not guilty of the murder charge against them, saying the evidence presented by the prosecutor was not enough to find them guilty of the charge.

Justice Nyako held that the 20-year sentence would run from the day of their arrest.

The judge, however, discharged and acquitted Michael Omonigho and Momoh Haruna, who were 3rd and 4th defendants, of the counts levelled against them in the terrorism charge.

She held that though some of the counts against Ezeigbe and Azuekor attracted punishment ranging from death sentence, life inprisonment to at least 10 years jail term, but said she had found that the accused who are first time convicts had been remorseful of their crimes.

She also found that they had been in custody for about 10 years from the day of their arrest. The judge, however, directed that Haruna, who had escaped from prison be brought to court to face the punishment for his escape from lawful custody, even though he was discharged of the counts against him.

Kelvin Ezeigbe, Frank Azuekor, Michael Omonigho and Momoh Haruna were first arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Ademola on June 9, 2014, on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.

They were accused of committing acts of terrorism, contrary to Sections 1, 8 and 10 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.

While the three defendants were in court, Haruna was said to be missing after the attack on Kuje Correctional Centre by terrorists on July 5, 2022.