There was a mild drama at an Asaba High Court today as three persons were convicted and sentenced to a total of 42 years in jail with hard labour for the offence of kidnapping.
The court sentenced the three accused persons standing trial since 2012 on a four count charge to 14years each after being pronounced guilty of the offence of conspiracy and kidnapping. The kidnappers include one Innocent Atunye, a politician, Emmanuel Adebayo, a student and one Emmanuel Edokun who claimed to be an electronic technician.
Moment the court verdict was pronounced, mother to one of the convict caused a stir as she rolled on the floor and wept uncontrolably, miscruing the verdict as a death warrant. Her hysteria obstructed proceedings of court temporarily before she was calmly taken away by Police officers stationed within the court premises to provide security.
The three accused persons were found guilty for kidnapping one Otio Onoriode Paul, a student, on the 1st of July, 2012 at Ogharaki and held him hostage for six days before he was released but not after an alleged N2million ransome was paid to the kidnappers. They were later arrested by men of the Department of State Security Service DSS, through intelligence gathering where they made voluntary confessional statements admitting to the crime
The court however, discharged and acquitted them on the count of demanding property with menace and that of armed robbery.
Meanwhile, another High Court sitting at Asaba has sentenced a 25yr old welder, Ebierim Onianwa to 11 years in jail with hard labour for the same offence of kidnapping. He was found guilty for kidnapping one Phillip Okotcha on or about the 31st day of January, 2012, at KM 3, Ibusa Asaba Expressway, within the Asaba Judicial Division and held him hostage for 4 days.
Phillip Okotcha only regained his freedom after an alleged sum of N1million was paid as ransome