2017 Delta killings: Suspect seek trial outside Abuja
Seven persons, who were allegedly involved in the 2017 killing of some Idumuje-Ugboko natives in Aniocha North Council Area of Delta State, have challenged Federal Government’s decision to prosecute them in Abuja.
In the suit filed by the Office of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Federal Government alleged that the defendants: Nwochie Light, Aikhomo Omezi, Okey Ifejoku, Godwin Aniemeke, Nonso Omefe, Dennis Nwoko and Emeka Bidoku, unleashed terror on the community by burning some houses in May 2017.
It told the court that one Cyprian Kumaorun was killed in the process, but the defendants pleaded not guilty to the amended three-count charge brought against them on November 2, 2017.
The matter was consequently fixed for continued hearing yesterday before Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
However, at the resumed sitting, the defence counsel told the court that they had filed an application for the case to be transferred to Asaba, the Delta State capital.
“We have a motion for transfer of the matter from Abuja to Asaba or any other jurisdiction within the axis. We don’t mind if the case is transferred to Benin, Bayelsa, Port Harcourt or Anambra,” counsel to the first defendant, Agbo Madaki pleaded.
On his part, Prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, sought an adjournment to enable him respond to the transfer request dated December 1, 2020, but Justice Abang adjourned hearing of the application till today, insisting that commencement of trial in the matter would depend on the outcome of the application.
The Federal Government had earlier prayed the court for an accelerated hearing of the case since it bothered on terrorism and informed the court that 14 witnesses would be called to give evidence in the matter.
“That Nwochie Light, Aikhomo Omezi, Okey Ifejoku, Godwin Aniemeke, Nonso Omefe, Dennis Nwoko and Emeka Bidoku of ldumuje-Ugboko Community, Aniocha North Council Area of Delta State between May 18 and 25, 2017 within the jurisdiction of this court conspired with others still at large to commit acts of terrorism.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 17 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013,” part of the charge reads.