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Absence of an interpreter at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday stalled the arraignment of 5 men accused of abduction of pupils of Nigeria/Tulip school before Justice John Tsoho.

Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), had on June 1, 2017, dragged the accused persons to court on a 5-count charge for allegedly abducting and taking hostage of some pupils and staff members of a school in Isheri, Ogun state, on January 13, 2017, and another six victims along Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos, on December 16, 2016. The defendants in the case marked, FHC/ABJ/CR/85/2017, are Bekewei Agbojule (a.k.a Asari), Egbasimokumo Ayeomi (a.k.a Effiong), Godspower Olopele, Toki Okuba and Super Allen Baye (a.k.a Yanga).

Three of the defendants – Agbojule, Ayeomi and Baye – were said to be from Ijaw community of Arogbo town, in the riverine area of Ondo State, while the two others -Olopele and Okuba – were said to be residents of Ikorodu, Lagos State and Isheri in Ogun State, respectively. But when the matter was called before Justice John Tsoho yesterday, the suspects informed the court and prosecuting lawyer, Mr Aminu Alilu that they don’t understand English language except “pidgin”. Efforts made by court authority to get a competent interpreter proved abortive. In view of the development, the court had to adjourn the matter till today for plea taking. Delivering a short ruling, Justice Tsoho regretted that the court could not get an interpreter. “It is regretted that the court has not been able to get an interpreter. “Consequently, the court has to adjourn till tomorrow (today) to get a neutral and competent interpreter, Justice Tsoho said. The charges read, “That you, Bekewei Agbojule a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves and others at large to commit an offence to wit: hostage taking. “That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you seized some staff and students of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, namely, Nwosu Stephanie, Olatubosun Zainab, Agodi Rebecca, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Aderinto Hanat and Deriyo Yaziel at gun point to compel their family members to pay ransom before releasing them. “That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about January 13, 2017, at Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you detained some staff and students of Nigeria/Tulip International College, Isheri, Ogun State, namely, Nwosu Stephanie, Olatubosun Zainab, Agodi Rebecca, Radiyan Aminu, Rashidat Ibrahim, Aderinto Hanat and Deriyo Yaziel and demanded from their family members a monetary ransom of eight hundred million naira (N800,000,000), which you later reduced to the sum of fifty million naira (N50,000,000) and received by you before releasing them. “That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about December 16, 2016, at Asolo Bridge, Ikorodu Expressway, Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking in that you seized one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others at gun point to compel their family members to pay ransom before releasing them. “That you, Bekewei Agbojule, a.k.a Asari, of College Road Abapa/Arogbo, Ondo State; Egbasimokumo Ayeomi, a.k.a Effiong of Opuba village, Arogbo town, Ondo State; Godspower Olopele of Araromi Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos; Toki Okuba of Ijaw village behind Opic Estate, Isheri, Ogun State and Super Allen Baye a.k.a Yanga of Opuba village, Arogbo, Ondo State, on or about December 16, 2016, at Ibafo Creek, Ogun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did commit an offence to wit: hostage taking, in that you detained one Joshua Olayinka, Rita Morah, Kendra Abiose and four others and demanded a monetary ransom of two million naira (N2,000,000) from their family members which you received before releasing them.” The prosecution alleged that the offence of conspiracy to commit hostage taking was an act of terrorism contrary to section 17 of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, 2013, and punishable under the same section of the Act. It alleged that other offences of seizing, hostage taking and demanding ransome were also acts of terrorism said to be contrary to 15 (1) of Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act, and punishable under the same section of the Act.


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