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Wednesday, July 24

Three men in court over secret cult membership, illegal possession of firearms




The Police Command in Benue State on Wednesday arraigned three persons before a Makurdi Upper Area Court for alleged illegal possession of firearms and membership of secret cult.

The accused: David Onwe, 28; Alexander Eche, 27; and Godwin Ocheme, 22, are charged with criminal conspiracy, belonging to secret cult, illegal possession of firearms and having possession of stolen property.

The Police Prosecutor, Insp. Veronica Shaagee said the case was transferred to the Police by the Nigerian Military Corps, Makurdi, through a letter No.707SF/BDE/PROV/COY/G3/240/01 dated July 12, 2019.

Shaagee said some soldiers from the 707 Special Forces Brigade, Joe Akaahan Barracks, Makurdi, while on stop and search duty, intercepted a commercial bus with the suspects on board.

“The team conducted a search on the bus and recovered a locally-made revolver pistol from one David Onwe, one Afrione iPad, nine telephones, four telephone chargers, one stabiliser, three wrist watches and N750,000 cash.

“They could not give a satisfactory account of the said items,” she said.

Shaagee said that the owner later confessed ownership of the recovered pistol during police investigation and mentioned one Samson to be his cohort.

The prosecutor said further investigation revealed that the suspects were members of a deadly unlawful society known as “Red Skin Cult”.

She said the suspects had left Nyiongun village for North Bank, Makurdi, for cult-related activities and were returning home before their arrest.

Shaagee said the offences contravened Section 3 (1) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act cap F28 LFN 2004, and Sections 97 and 318 of the Penal Code of Benue State, 2004.

She said the offences also contravened Section 11 (2) of the Prohibition of Abduction, Hostage taking, Kidnapping, Secret Cult and Similar Activities Law, 2017.

When the case came up for mention, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction.

The Magistrate, Ms Rose Iyorshe adjourned the case to Sept. 9 for further mention and remanded all the accused in Makurdi Medium Prisons, NAN reports.