From OKEY SAMPSON, Aba
An Aba Chief Magistrate in Abia State has remanded a native doctor and six other persons in prison custody over alleged kidnapping.
The seven persons arraigned on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony and kidnapping were alleged to have been involved in the abduction of a female member of staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 6, Aba, Mrs. Linda Osuala.
After the kidnap incident, a team of Anti-Robbery Squad from the Aba Area Police Command, led by ASP Anari Anari raided a forest between Umuezi Mgboko and Okpuala communities in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State, where Mrs Osuala was held hostage by her abductors, necessitating her release.
During the raid that lasted over six hours, police arrested 15 suspects, including a native doctor who was alleged to be involved in the preparation of charms for the kidnappers. After investigations, eight of the suspects were released while the remaining seven were charged to court.
When the police prosecutor, Victor Mbama read the charge the accused persons could not enter their pleas because the offence upon conviction carries capital punishment and as such could not be entertained by a Magistrate Court.
Accordingly, the Chief Magistrate K. I. Udo informed the parties that his court had no jurisdiction to entertain criminal cases with capital punishment(s) and ordered that the case be transferred to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.
Udo, however, fixed September 19 for report on compliance to the directives of the court and to allow the prosecutor to properly hand over the case to the DPP.