Nimbo: Five Fulani, Kanuri arraigned for attack
Five Fulani and Kanuri herdsmen were Monday arraigned before an Nsukka High Court for allegedly launching an attack on the Nimbo Community in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The attack was said to have led to the untimely death of several people on April 25, 2016.
The arraignment came on the heels of fresh tension in Uzo Uwani, following the alleged killing of two farmers at Adaba, capital of same Uzo Uwani Local Government by Fulani herdsmen, Monday.
Those killed in the fresh attack were identified as Chiaha Okeke and Charles Maduegbunam, both from Adaba in the area. They were reported to have been killed in their farms by Fulani herdsmen between Saturday and Monday.
The state spokesman, Ebere Amaraizu, said he had not been briefed on such a matter and promised to get further information over the issue, but a lawyer from the area, Chief Reuben Ochi, confirmed the story in an interview with reporters at the Nsukka High Court, yesterday, saying that Chiaha’s corpse was yet to be recovered.
Ochi said that Chiaha was butchered and his remains taken away while Maduegbunam’s corpse had been found.
However, those arraigned included Mohammed Zurai, (Fulani); Suleiman Lautai- Kanuri; Sale Haruna Lautai- Fulani; Adamu uleiman- Fulani and Alhaji Ciroma, born in Keffi, Nassarawa State but an indigene of Kogi State.
They were said to have levied war on the people of Nimbo, killing many natives, most of who died of shock and haemorrhage sometime in April, last year.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty of the charge.
However, the defence Counsel, Dr A. N. Mohammed pleaded for the release of the accused persons on bail, saying that the suspects had stayed in prison custody for about a year and four months without any charge filed against them for their purported crimes contrary to the law which stipulated that they should not have been detained for more than three months without charges being filed against them.
Mohammed quoted several section 35 (a) and (b) and other sections of the 1999 Constitution to buttress his argument that his clients deserved to be admitted on bail while their trial continued. “For purposes of clarity, the accused persons have been in detention from April 25, 2016 till date. Information about this matter was only filed last month, June 2017. Taking into consideration of the provisions of the constitution, especially Section 35 (a) and (b) the second to the fifth accused persons are entitled to be granted bail unconditionally.
“In line with the discretional and constitutional powers of this honourable court, or the courts inherent powers to admit suspects on bail, these accused persons deserve bail…,” he said.
But Counsel from the Office of the Director of Prosecutions, DPP, Paul Ugwueze with Chuka Ezike opposed Mohammed saying that the issue bordered on the circumstances under which the accused persons were charged.
Ugwueze said that the defence counsel had not proved or sown any special circumstances or consideration to warrant his application for bail saying that he made “a feeble attempt to bring the issue of ill-health, even when he (Mohammed) stated that the issue had been overcome with herbal medicine.
“The defence has not shown any special case to warrant his application even if tangentially. The sections of the 1999 Constitution and other laws he cited are not applicable in this case… We are dealing with capital offence and his arguments are unknown to any law in Nigeria. That is not the practice, trend or the law.”
After listening to the arguments, the Presiding Judge, Justice Anthony Onovo, adjourned the case to October 16, 2017 for ruling on the bail application.
About 40 persons were reportedly killed by some Fulani herdsmen at Nimbo in Uzo- Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, sources told Vanguard at Nsukka Police Area Command, near the area on April 24, last year.
About seven villages in Nimbo (Nimbo Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ekwuru, Ebor, Enugu Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara) were among the areas attacked.