Police in Ogun state yesterday re-arraigned in Court, 13 suspected smugglers who allegedly kidnapped an operative of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Abdul-Rasheed Salami who was attached to the Federal Operation Unit (FOU) in April, 2018.
The suspects were arraigned before a Magistrate Court 1 sitting in Isabo area of Abeokuta, the state capital on a three count charges bothering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping as well as wilful and unlawful damage of two vehicles belonging to NCS operatives.
In the amended charge sheet number: MA/797C/2018, read before the Court by the prosecution Counsel, Bar. Bale Nimnan (Esq), the suspect, which included a woman were said to have committed the offence on the 14th April, 2018 along the Ilo-Awela road near the Toll-Gate axis of Sango-Ota in the Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of the state.
The suspects had earlier on August 5, 2018 been arraigned before the Magistrate Court 1 and 2 presided over by Magistrate A.I. Adelaja on three counts charge in suit numbers: MA/347C/2018 and MA/559C/2018 but were granted bail.
The suspects included: Ojewale Abiodun, Idowu Ogundepo, Saheed Akanbi, Oladele Dayo, Raji Jamiu, Bankole Akeem, Sanni Saheed, Bukola Tosin, Akinola Hammed and Hassan Rofiat were accused of being accomplices in the gun duel which occurred between the NCS operatives and smugglers at the old Toll-Gate axis of Sango-Ota in April this year.
During the incident, suspected smugglers allegedly unleashed mayhem on the NCS operatives which led to the abduction and kidnap of the victim, Abdul-Rasheed Salami, an Inspector of Customs.
Two vehicles belonging to the NCS’ Federal Operation Unit (FOU): a Toyota Hilux with registration number AP 80 CS and a Toyota Hummer bus marked AQ 74 CS were also destroyed during the fracas.
The 13 suspects however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them when they were re-arraigned yesterday in Abeokuta.
But rulling over the matter yesterday, the Court, presided over by Magistrate Titilayo Bello adjourned hearing on the matter to 18th December, 2018 for continuation of the matter.