Ike Nnachi, Abakaliki
The Abakaliki Division of the Ebonyi State Magistrate Court, Abakaliki on Tuesday, remanded in a Correctional facility, 19 men for allegedly killing an Inspector of Police, Festus Akpan and two civilians.
The accused persons, namely Kenneth Agha (aka Mukoro); Azubuike Okoro; Okporie Oti; Egwu Chinedu; Chimeremeze Umeh; Oburu Orji; Uka Orji; Orji David; Aku Sunday; Oledi Philip; Onyemuche Uka, among others, it was gathered, were accused of allegedly killing two civilians and an Inspector of Police at Ekoli Edda community, in the Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state on December 26, 2022.
It was also learnt that they allegedly burnt down two houses in the community.
They were arraigned before the Magistrate Court, on Tuesday, on offences bordering on felony, murder, arson, unlawful possession of firearms, among others.
The police prosecutor, ASP Chinagorom Eze, told the court that the offences were punishable under sections 516A (a), 42, 319(1), 443 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009 and section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms Act, Cap R, 11, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as amended.
The defendants were not represented in court and, therefore, no bail application was made on their behalf.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Ogodo, ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Abakaliki.
She also ordered that their case file should be transferred to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for necessary legal advice.
She adjourned the matter to February 24, 2023, for report of compliance.
Ikengaonline had reported how the police officer and two others were killed during a clash between supporters of two rival stalwarts of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The incident happened on 26 December in the Ekoli-Edda community.
The killings followed a clash between supporters of the APC State Chairperson, Stanley Emegha and the party’s House of Representatives candidate for Afikpo North and Afikpo South Federal Constituency, Eni Uduma.
Mr Emegha, who is also a security consultant to the Ebonyi State Government, is in charge of the Ebubeagu, a security outfit that is backed by the State Government.
His rival, Mr Uduma, is a former chairperson of the local government council who finished his second term in August.
Both are loyalists of the Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi. They hail from the community but have been political foes for a long time.
Enraged by the incident, Mr Umahi had ordered the arrest and prosecution of Messrs Emegha and Uduma.
But they were later freed after the suspects allegedly exonerated them from involvement the incident.
One of those killed in the clash is a 39-year-old youth Leader in the community, Eseni Egwu, while the other is Eme Orji, a brother to Mr Emegha.