By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE & MICHAEL NWOPOKE
LAGOS—Factional leader of Aguiyi Ironsi International Market Ladipo market, in Mushin area of Lagos, Chief Jonathan Okoli, 49, who was arrested by detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, has been arraigned before an Ebute Metta magistrate’s court for alleged terrorism.
Okoli, an indigene of Ndiowu in Anambra State, was also accused of being in possession of illegal arms, attempted murder and extortion. The accused and others at large were said to have on March 5, 2012, at Ladipo market in Lagos, armed themselves with dangerous arms, such as gun, matchet, bottle, iron rod etc in public places without lawful authority and caused terror to traders in Ladipo market and the neighbourhood and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 51 of the criminal laws of Lagos State Nigeria 2011.
Refusing to take Okoli’s plea, the presiding Magistrate, Mrs. M. O. Olajuwon, ordered that the accused file be duplicated for DPP advice and he (accused) should be remanded at Ikoyi prisons, pending the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, advice on the matter.
The charge read in part: “That you Jonathan Okoli and others at large on the 5th of March 2012 at about 1100hrs at Ladipo market Lagos in the Lagos magisterial district did demand money with menace from one Ejike, Nnamdi Chigozie, Mike Osagi and other traders at Ladipo market Lagos with threat of injury or detriment of any kind to be caused on them.”
According to Police the arrest and arraignment of Okoli followed his importation of arms, such as guns, machetes and thugs from the Southeast popularly called Bakassi boys, who have been terrorizing traders and residents at Papa Ajao and its environs.
It was gathered that Okoli assumed leadership in the Aguiyi Ironsi market and after five years which his tenure elapsed, he refused to conduct election and hand over. Traders in the market were divided into several factions. Okoli allegedly went to the east and brought Bakassi boys and started causing terror in the area.
Okoli is facing a seven-count charge ranging from terrorism, illegal arms, attempted murder and extortion among others, while the matter was adjourned till 3 December 2012.