The Criminal Division of the State High Court in Benin, yesterday, approved a remand order sought by the police to keep the Iyatsere of Warri and the leader of Itsekiri people in Ologbo, Chief Johnson Atseleghe and 11 others over alleged kidnap and murder of Sunny Etchie, the youth leader of Kolo-kolo community in Ikpoba-Okha local government of Edo State.
They were brought before the Court with Charge No B/Ed/445M/2020 on a four count charge of “attempted kidnap, kidnap, attempted murder and murder of Sunny Etchie”.
The offence is punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38 laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, Section 2 (2) and punishable under Section 3 of the kidnapping prohibition (amendment) law 2013 of Edo State, Section 324 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Section 316 (1) and punishable under Section (319) (1) of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Justice Efe Ikpomwonba refused any bail application by Counsel to the accused and granted that the accused be remanded in police custody for two weeks and adjourned sitting to July 23rd.
He also ordered that duplicates of the case files be sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
The state Commissioner of Police, Johnson Kokumo, on Monday, confirmed that Atseleghe was in their custody and being investigated on the disappearance of Etchie.
“I can confirm to you that one Mr. Johnson Atseleghe is in our custody who is being investigated over allegation over an incident that somebody is missing and the persons who were last seen
with the missing man were linked to him”, he said.
Etchie was reportedly picked by some persons allegedly on the directive of Atseleghe over three weeks ago and he is suspected to have been killed.
It would be recalled that a group, Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM) recently raised alarm over alleged incessant killings, kidnapping and disappearance of people in Kolo-kolo village.
President of the group, Comrade Curtis Ugbo, who led a protest to the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Zone 5, also called on the police to hold the leader of Itsekiri people in Ologbo, Johnson Atseleghe, responsible for the happenings in the area, accusing him of complicity in the incidences.