Court sentences Falae’s kidnappers to life imprisonment
• Army hands over repentant terrorists to Borno
• Kano seeks ECOWAS support on clashes
An Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure, the state capital, has sentenced seven Fulani herdsmen behind the abduction of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, to life imprisonment.
The kidnappers seized the elder statesman in 2015. He was released four days after he had reportedly paid N5 million as ransom. The convicts, who were arrested at different locations, pleaded not guilty to the five-count charge preferred against them.
The conviction, though coming some two years after the incident, is viewed as a good step towards checking the menace. More convictions are expected to serve as deterrents to kidnappers.
The court, presided over by Justice Williams Olamide, yesterday ruled that the suspects were guilty of the offence brought against them by the state government. Before sentencing them to Olokuta Maximum Prison without an option of fine, he said the recovered ransom, call logs and their identification by Falae were strong evidence against them.
The Director of Public Prosecutions at the Ondo State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Adesola Adeyemi-Tuki, lauded the judgment, saying justice was well served. But the counsel to the convicts, Abdulraham Yusuf, contested the judgment, indicating readiness to appeal the sentence.
Falae, who also hailed the ruling, charged the police to go after those at large. Also yesterday, herdsmen attacked two women in their farms barely a week after 12 persons were killed at Turan communities of Kwande local council of Benue State.
An eyewitness said the attack led to the death on the spot of one of the women while the second sustained serious injuries and was receiving medical attention in Jato Aka.
The council’s Director, General Services and Administration, Teryila Iorhemen who confirmed the report, said the incident happened at Adam between Jato Aka and Anwanze.
The Security Adviser to Governor Samuel Ortom, Col. Edward Jando (rtd), also confirmed the incident but the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Moses Yamu said he was yet to be briefed.
Meanwhile, residents of Oruarive-Abraka Kingdom in Delta State have sought federal intervention over the continued killing of innocent people by suspected herdsmen in their localities.
The President-General of the community, Chief Tedwins Emudainohwo, told reporters that the attacks were fast becoming nightmarish. He added that over four persons had been killed in the past two weeks.
But the police spokesman in the state, Andrew Aniamaka, said the force was tackling the situation, adding that several persons had been arrested and were undergoing questioning.
In a related development, the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North-East, Major General Lucky Irabor has handed over 593 cleared Boko Haram suspects to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State for psychosocial rehabilitation before their integration into the society.
The affected comprised elderly men, women as well as children and their mothers who were detained at a military centre for profiling. Besides, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has solicited the cooperation of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) in ending the lingering clashes between herdsmen and farmers in parts of the country.
Ganduje made the call yesterday while receiving the national executive members of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association (MACBAN), led by Alhaji Muhammadu Kiruwa Ardon Zuru, in Kano.
His words: “Since the herdsmen were itinerant, the best way out of their problem is a collective sub-regional solution. “You will find a herdsman from a West African country moving about with a herd of cattle comprising about 1,000 which narrow cattle routes cannot contain hence the need to trespass farms in search of fodder that often lead to very dangerous disputes.”
The governor maintained that the nomads must change their lifestyles by settling down in a location. He, therefore, stated that his administration had concluded plans to establish Fulani model villages with basic infrastructure to enable them to settle in a place and concentrate on modern animal husbandry.
Zuru urged government to pay more attention to sensitising pastoralists and farmers to the need to shun violence and embrace nomadic education.