Police, in Ogun State, yesterday, re-arraigned in court, 13 suspected smugglers who kidnapped an operative of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdul-Rasheed Salami, who was attached to the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) in April, 2018.
The suspects were arraigned before a Magistrates’ Court 1 sitting in Isabo area of Abeokuta, the state capital, on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping as well as wilful and unlawful damage of two vehicles belonging to NCS operatives.
In the amended charge sheet number: MA⁄797C/2018, read before the court by the prosecution counsel, Bale Nimnan (Esq), the suspects, including a woman, were said to have committed the offence on 14 April, 2018 along the Ilo-Awela road near the Toll-Gate axis of Sango-Ota in the Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of the state.
The suspects had earlier, on 5 August, 2018 been arraigned before the Magistrates’ Court 1 and 2 of Magistrate A I Adelaja on three-count charge in suit numbers: MA/347C/2018 and MA/559C/2018 but were granted bail.
The suspects include: Ojewale Abiodun, Idowu Ogundepo, Saheed Akanbi, Oladele Dayo, Raji Jamiu, Bankole Akeem, Sanni Saheed, Bukola Tosin, Akinola Hammed and Hassan Rofiat. They were accused of being accomplices in the gun duel, which occurred between the NCS operatives and smugglers at the old Tollgate axis of Sango-Ota in April this year.
During the incident, suspected smugglers allegedly unleashed mayhem on the NCS operatives, which led to the abduction and kidnap of the victim, Abdul-Rasheed Salami, an inspector of Customs.
Two vehicles belonging to the NCS’ Federal Operation Unit (FOU): a Toyota Hilux with registration number AP 80 CS and a Toyota Hummer bus marked AQ 74 CS, were also destroyed during the fracas. The 13 suspects, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them when they were re-arraigned yesterday, in Abeokuta.
But ruling over the matter, yesterday, Magistrate Titilayo Bello adjourned hearing on the matter to 18 December, 2018 for continuation of the matter.
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