Published On: Wed, Jun 17th, 2015

Kevin’s Gang Face Trial, Says they Receive N28m Ransom for Ozekhome’s Freedom

Kevin in front

Kevin in front

LAGOS JUNE 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Azuekor a member of the kidnap gang purportedly lead by Kokori’s kidnap kingpin, Kevin Ezeigbe had confessed that their gang received the sum N28m ransom for the freedom of Chief Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Azuekor told a Federal High Court in Abuja that he received N4.1 million as his share of the ransom.
Azuekor, Kelvin Ezeigbe, Michael Omonigho and Momoh Haruna, were arraigned in 2013 on a 13-count charge bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, kidnapping and acts of terrorism.
The trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, had ordered trial-within-trial after Mr. Bala Dakum, counsel to the accused persons, objected to the admissibility of their confessional statements to the Department of State Services (DSS).

Dakum had argued that the confessional statements purportedly made to the DSS were not voluntarily made by his clients.
At Tuesday’s resumed hearing, the DSS produced a video footage of the conditions of the statement-taking to prove the voluntariness of the statements.
In one of the clips played while examining a DSS witness, Azuekor revealed that on Aug. 23, 2013, the initial seven-man gang ambushed Ozekhome’s vehicle on Auchi Road in Edo.
He said that the gang shot dead five police officers who pursued them and recovered two Ak-47 rifles from them.
Azuekor said the gang received a N28 ransom from Ozekhome before releasing him, adding that he got N4.1 million as his share.
The accused persons and others, still at large, are accused of committing acts of terrorism, contrary to sections 1, 8 and 10 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.
They are alleged to have, on Aug. 23, 2013, kidnapped Ozekhome at Iruekpen on his way to Iviukwe in Agenebode, Edo.
Ozekhome was held in captivity for about three weeks before his release allegedly following the payment of a ransom.
The suspects also allegedly shot and killed five Police officers namely Paul Ajaka (ASP); Sunday Ewanshiha (Insp.); Michael Akpada (Insp.) and Bakary Ekong (Insp.) and Innocent Odoh (Sgt).
They also allegedly killed two prison officials namely Lawrence Edora (Insp.) and Oyibo Okoye (SPA) and made away with their service rifles.
Justice Ademola adjourned the case until July 8 and July 9 to enable the defence counsel cross examine the witness on the video evidence.

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