Court okays secret trial for Ozekhome's kidnappers

Court okays secret trial for Ozekhome's kidnappers

Monday, October 13, 2014 6:55 pm

Nnamdi Felix/ Abuja

Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a federal high court in Abuja has ruled that the alleged kidnappers of a top lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, a senior advocate of Nigeria, would be tried secretly.

The alleged kidnappers, Kelvin Oniarah Eziegbe, Frank Auekor and Michael Omonigho, were ‎also accused of carrying out several kidnappings in Edo and Delta States.

Mike Ozekhome

Mike Ozekhome

The secret trial was granted by the court in order to protect the witnesses some of whom are security operatives. Only the accused persons, their lawyers, the prosecutor and accredited journalists will be allowed to be present during the trial.

The judge also refused the suspects’ request for bail but granted an order for accelerated hearing to make up for the refusal of the suspects’ bail application.

‎Trial is fixed for 13th and 14th of November.

Kelvin and gang before the arrest

Kelvin and gang before the arrest

The suspected kidnappers allegedly collected the sum of N40 million from Ozekhome following his abduction in August 2013, before he was freed.

Also, a former commissioner in Delta State, Professor Hope Eghagha‎ who was also kidnapped in September 2012 on his way from Warri to Asaba by the same suspects paid N7million to secure his release.

They are charged with a 14 counts charge bordering on terrorism, murder, hostage taking and other sundry offences said to be punishable under the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.

Count 9 of the charge reads: “That you Kelvin Oniarah Eziegbe, Frank Azuekor and others at large on or about Augusr 23rd, 2013 you committee an act of terrorism to wit: kidnapped Mike Ozekhome (SAN), at Iruekpen, on his way to Iviukwe, Agenebode and shot and killed four policemen, namely Paul Sunday Ajaka (ASP), Sunday Ewanshita (insp), Michael Akpada (insp) and Balary Kong (insp) and you demanded and compelled him to pay a ransom of N40million which were paid to you in US Dollars before you released Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1(2)(f) and Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011 as amended.”

They all pleaded not guilty to. All the counts of the charge

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