Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court, on Monday, denied granting bail application to six Fulani herdsmen who were arrested over the New Year attack in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.
Recall that the six accused persons, Ibrahim Saleh, Jibrin Adamu, Magaji Yau, Ibrahim Abubakar, Useni Bala, Sabin Yau, who were first arraigned on Friday January 5, 2018 before Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim, were remanded in prison custody till March 4, 2018.
The accused persons were charged for culpable homicide, criminal conspiracy, mischief by fire, grievous hurt and violation of the 2017 prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law.
They were also arraigned for openly rearing their cows within farmlands at Akor village in Guma Local Government Area thus contravening section 97, 329, 333 and 222 of the penal code law of Benue State and section 19(2)(3) of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of Benue State 2017.
When the case was mention, no plea was taken for Want of Jurisdiction, but the Principal State Counsel, M.N. Abenga from the state’s ministry of Justice formally applied to take over the motions from the initial prosecution counsel ASP Edward Imoh and the substantive case.
Abenga further brought another application urging the court not to grant bail to the accused persons pending the determination of the substantive suit and asked that the case be adjourned to another date to enable the ministry of Justice conclude on its legal advice.
Counsel to the defendants, Al Mustapha Elegu did not oppose the application.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim, granted application by the state Counsel saying it is allowed that the offense committed by accused persons were grievous, and that he needed legal advice from the state ministry of Justice before he can rule on any application for bail.
Ajim adjourned the case to 29th March, 2018 for ruling on application for bail and 11th April 2018 for hearing of substantive suit respectively ordered that the suspects be remanded at the Makurdi Medium Prisons till the next adjourn dates.
Counsel to the accused, Almustapha Elegu who spoke with newsmen shortly after the court proceedings said he did not raise any objection to the motions raised by the state Counsel because there was no basis for it at the moment insisting that the Chief Magistrate court has no jurisdiction to try cases of this nature but to pave way for High Court to try properly try the accused.