DSS arraigns politician, 2 others over kidnap of expatriates

Posted by News Express | 30 October 2016 | 3,129 times

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A female politician, Irene Offiong Ekpe, a serving Councillor in Bakassi Local Government Council of Cross River State, have been remanded in prison custody with two others. They were charged to court by the Department of State Security (DSS) following their alleged involvement in the kidnap of five expatriates last June.

Suspected militants had in June kidnapped five expatriates, including three Australians, one New Zealandian and a South African on their way to a cement manufacturing plant owned by Lafarge Africa Plc at Mfamosing, in Akamkpa Local Government Area, about 20km from Calabar, the state capital. Their driver, a Nigerian who tried to escape with the expatriates, was shot dead on the spot. The suspected militants freed the expatriates after four days after over N150 million ransom was reportedly paid.

In the suit number MC/611c/2016 before Magistrate Court 9 in Calabar, DSS is charging the three persons on three counts of kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap with demand for ransom and murder.

Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Sunny Mbang, had in a preliminary objection noted that in previous date in court, the DSS brought the accused and secured a remand order only to transfer the accused to Nigerian Prisons custody and had the case prosecution brief handed over to the Cross River State Department of Public Prosecution, without due authorisation from the Attorney General of the Federation.

Responding, the prosecution counsel, Barrister Ukam, asked for adjournment to enable him reply on point of law.

The matter was subsequently adjourned to November 11, 2016.

One of the accused persons is said to be the personal driver to the councillor whose car was allegedly used to transport the ransom paid to the kidnappers. Although she denied any direct involvement in the act, part of the ransom was reportedly traced to her residence and she is said to have refunded N500,000 through the DSS.

•Adapted from an Independent report. 

Source: News Express

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