The Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure has reserved judgment till March 21, 2017 over the protracted kidnapping case involving Chief Olu Falae, SaharaReporters can authoritatively report.
Our correspondent learned in Akure, at the weekend, that the lawyers and prosecutors handling the long-drawn case have adopted and submitted written addresses as their final plea before the State High Court.
Mr. Falae, a former secretary to the military government of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, was abducted by gunmen, suspected to be Fulani herdsmen, on September 21, 2015, in Kajola area of Eyinla community in Ilado, Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.
SaharaReporters recalled that the unrepentant kidnappers numbering over 10 abducted Mr. Falae on his 77th birthday and immediately demanded the sum of N100 million from his family before he could be freed from captivity.
The elder statesman was, however, freed after his family paid N5 million for his release. Mr. Falae spent 72 hours in captivity.
Seven of the kidnappers were later arrested on October 11, 2015 by the Special Intelligence Squad of the Nigeria Police Force deployed from Abuja on the order of the erstwhile Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase.
The seven accused persons - Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru lbrahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal, Abdulkadir Umar, and Babawo Kato - were arrested at different locations in Niger, Ondo and Ekiti states, according to the police report.
On October 15, 2015, the arrested kidnappers were arraigned in court after the combined team of the security agents recovered N800,000 out of the N5 million ransom payment.
The accused were slammed with a five-count charge of kidnapping and abducting, aiding and abetting, conspiracy and armed robbery at the Ondo State High Court.
According to the prosecution, the offence of the seven accused persons contravened Section 2 of the Anti-Kidnapping and Anti-Abduction Law, Act, Cap RII, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and Section 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap RII, Vol.14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, sources told SaharaReporters that the defense team filed their written addresses before the Ondo State High Court on January 23, 2017 on a different occasion after seeking a leave of court.
One of these sources at the court’s registry that pleaded anonymity disclosed that Abdulrahman Yusuf and Maclean Anthony, who served as the defense counsels to the seven accused persons, told the court to adopt their written addresses as their final defence in the case.
“In those addresses, they both pleaded with the court to discharge and acquit their clients from the prolonged case, which has taken more than enough time to adjudicate,” the source disclosed.
The source added that the prosecution team, led by Adesola Adeyemi Tuki, was also in the court to adopt its own written address with a plea on the court to hold same as its final address.
“The prayers of the prosecuting counsels are straightforward since the crime they (the accused) committed has been proven against them. The counsels are pleading with the court in their written addresses to adopt their plea by convicting the seven accused persons according to the law,” he explained.
SaharaReporters learned that Justice Rotimi Olamide Williams, who has been presiding over the case at the Ondo State High Court, has penned March 21, 2017 for the final judgment of the case after submission of the final written addresses were adopted.