Kidnapping: Monarch, four others remanded in prison custody
Five suspects, including a traditional ruler in Enugu State, Igwe Cornelius Nomeh, were on Wednesday arraigned and remanded in prison custody by an Enugu magistrate’s court for the alleged kidnapping of a 300-level medical student of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Nomeh, 65, who is the traditional ruler of crisis-ridden Oruku community in Nkanu East Local Government Area of the state and his co-accused, allegedly committed the offence on May 14, 2010 at Nkpologu town in the state.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Emmanuel Nwaru, said the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the alleged offences contained in the five-count charge preferred against the accused persons. He therefore ordered the suspects remanded in prison custody, pending the transfer of the matter to the High Court.
In his ruling, the chief magistrate said the suspects were free to apply for bail at the High Court, since his court lacked the power to grant it.
The five-count charge was read to the suspects after which no plea was taken.
Meanwhile, shortly after the magistrate ruled, the monarch, clad in a royal regalia, asked for permission to speak.
When it was granted, he said, “It is quite unfortunate that the police, as an institution, which ordinarily should protect lives and property, is intimidating people. The police are trying to smear my good image by roping me into such a criminal matter.”
Nomeh; his wife, Ngozi; and one of his sons, John; were recently paraded along with some kidnap suspects by the Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, Mr. Mohammad Zarewa, at the state police headquarters in Enugu.
The suspects were arrested by members of the State Special Anti-robbery Squad at Nomeh’s palace at Oruku, following a tip- off that the kidnap victim simply identified as Ifeoma was abducted by some unknown gunmen at New Haven area of Enugu and taken to Oruku.