Law News
Court orders closed-door trial of Ozekhome’s alleged kidnappers


A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered a closed-door trial of the alleged kidnappers of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome.

The accused are Kelvin Eziegbe, Frank Auekor and Michael Omonigho. They are accused of being part of the notorious gang involved in carrying out several kidnappings in Edo and Delta states,

Justice Adeniyi Ademola said in his ruling that the secret trial was for the protection of the witnesses, some of whom are security operatives.

According to the judge, only the suspects, their lawyers, the prosecutor and accredited journalists will be allowed to witness the trial.

The judge also refused the accused persons’ application for bail but ordered an accelerated hearing of the matter to compensate for the bail refusal

The judge has fixed November 13 and 14 for the commencement of trial.

The accused persons are facing 14 counts of kidnapping and terrorism charges, among which was the kidnapping of Ozekhome in August 2013. The accused persons allegedly collected N40m as ransom to free Ozekhome.

They were also accused of kidnapping a former commissioner in Delta State, Prof. Hope Eghagha, on September 30, 2012 while on his way from Warri to Asaba. They were said to have received N7m ransom to free Eghagha.

They were also charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism acts, which included kidnapping of persons, accessory to an act of terrorism, inciting persons to commit act of terrorism recruitment, escape and abetting escape, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 17 of Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended.

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