Thirteen suspected smugglers have been re-arraigned by the Police before a Magistrate Court One sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, for allegedly kidnapping a Customs Officer, Abdul-Rasheed Salami, who was attached to the Federal Operation Unit in Ikeja, Lagos.
They were re-arraigned in a suit marked MA/797C/2018 with three-count charges of kidnapping, conspiracy and malicious damage punishable under sections 516, 364 and 451 (B) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State.
The suspects are: Ojewale Abiodun (22 years), Idowu Ogundepo (32 years), Saheed Akanbi (33 years), Oladele Dayo (34 years), Raji Jamiu (38 years), Bankole Akeem (20 years) and Sanni Saheed (44 years).
Others are Bukola Tosin (30 years), Akintola Hammed (20 years), Olufemi Odedipe (44 years), Fatai Adesina (34 years), Owolabi Mustapha (39 years) and Hassan Rofiat, aged 22, who is the only female among the suspects.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
In the count two charge, the suspects on April 14 allegedly conspired and kidnapped the Customs Officer at Ilo-Ilawe, near Toll Gate, Sango Ota.
The count three alleged that the suspect also destroyed Hilux and Hummer Buses which belonged to the Customs Service.
“That you (suspects) did willfully and unlawfully destroys Customs official vehicles, Hilux with Reg/No, AP 80 CS and Hummer Bus with Reg/No. AQ 74 CS driven by Abdulrasheed Salami and Abdulhammed and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 451 (b) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006,” the third count reads.
In their submissions, Counsel to the defendants, urged the court to allow them to continue to enjoy the bail earlier granted in the suit marked MA/347/2018.
The prosecutor, Bale Nimnan, in his response didn’t oppose the application.
He, however, asked the court to begin the hearing immediately, saying his witnesses were present in his court.
Three Customs officers and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case were lined up as witnesses in the case.
In his ruling, Magistrate Titi Bello granted the counsel’s prayers and adjourned the case till December 18, 2018 for hearing.