By Onozure Dania
lagos—Four men who allegedly kidnapped Oba Goriola Oseni, the traditional ruler of Iba in Lagos State, were yesterday remanded in prison custody by a Lagos High Court.
The accused: Duba Furejo, Ododomo Isaiah, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh, are standing trial before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Lagos High Court in Igbosere, Lagos on eight-count charge.
The charges are: conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.
The 74-year-old monarch, who celebrated his 40 years on the throne on November 22, 2015, was abducted in his palace at Iba on July 16 at about 8.00 p.m.
Four days after the abduction, the kidnappers demanded for N500 million as ransom, which the family claimed they could not raise.
The Prosecutor, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, the Attorney-General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, told the court that the accused committed the offences on July 16 at the oba’s palace in Iba.
Kazeem, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said that the accused conspired with others at large and kidnapped the traditional ruler.
He also alleged that the accused murdered two people, a palace guard, Sunday Okanlawon, and a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke.
The prosecutor said the accused also attempted to murder Abosede Oseni, wife of the oba.
He added that the accused were armed with guns and robbed the oba’s wife of her Cell phone.
Kazeem said the offences contravened Sections 223, 230, 297, 299, 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Each of the accused persons denied the charges.
The attorney-general, however, urged the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody.
A defence counsel, Mr Seliowei Baidu, represented the first, second and third accused, while Mr J. O. Eguraoje, represented the fourth accused in court.
The judge, consequently, adjourned the case till Nov. 4, 11 and 18 for trial.
Kazeem, had in a statement on Sunday, expressed the resolve of the present administration to rid the state of all forms of criminality.
“The swift commencement of trial of the accused in the kidnap of the monarch is a strong signal by the administration of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode that the state does not have any room for criminals.
“Ambode, as part of his commitment to make the state a safe place to live in and do business, will continue to support law enforcement agencies in the investigation and apprehension of all criminals.
“The governor is also committed to ensuring that Lagos State becomes a no-go area for criminals who target innocent citizens for kidnapping and collection of ransom in an effort to get rich quick,” he said.