By Peter Okutu – Abakaliki
Ebonyi State Police Command, Wednesday, arraigned 55 suspects in connection with the murder, arson, and destruction of properties that place during a communal conflict in the State.
The defendants were alleged to be responsible for killings, destruction of buildings, and illegal possession of firearms during the crises that erupted between the people of Effium and Ezza Effium, in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state.
The people of Effium and Ezza Effium communities in the Ohaukwu Council area of the state had been enmeshed in an intra-communal war that had led to the killings of over 40 persons and the destruction of properties worth millions of naira in the area.
It was gathered that the defendants committed the offence in Ezza Effium in the Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, on January 22, 2021.
They were arraigned before the Magistrate Court on a seven-count charge bothering on felony, murder, arson, encouraging communal war, unlawful possession of firearms, among others.
The Police Prosecutor, ASP Mathias Eze, told the court that the offences were punishable under sections 516A (a), 42, 319(1), 443 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009 and section 3 of the Robbery and Firearms Act, Cap R, 11, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as amended.
The defendants were not represented in court and, therefore, no bail application was made on their behalf.
The Chief Magistrate, Mrs Nnenna Onuoha, ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Abakaliki, while their case file is transferred to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, for necessary legal advice.
The matter was adjourned to February 19, 2021.