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DSS Forced Us To Make Statements Under Duress – Suspected Kidnappers Of Senior Lawyer, Ozekhome

Posted by Samuel on Wed 15th Mar, 2023 -

They accused the service of fabricating lies against them and tendering manipulated documents as evidence.

 Mike Ozekhome

The four defendants who are accused of kidnapping Chief Mike Ozekhome, a senior constitutional lawyer, since 2013 have called their witnesses

They called their witnesses in defence of the 13 count charge bordering on kidnapping and terrorism.

At the resumed trial of the case in Abuja on Tuesday before Justice Binta Nyako, the defendants told the court that they were forced and tortured by the operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) to make their confessional statements while in custody.

They accused the service of fabricating lies against them and tendering manipulated documents as evidence.

One of the suspects, Kelvin Oniarah Eziegbe who was called as DW 1 (Defence Witness) said he had never been involved in kidnapping in his life and was not responsible for kidnapping of Chief Ozekhome.

He also denied being the leader of a terrorist gang which was accused of being responsible for the crime during the cross examination by the prosecution counsel. Barr. Chioma Onuegbu. 

While answering questions on the alleged killing of four police officers who went to rescue Ozekhome and attack on a prison vehicle by a gang, Kelvin denied any involvement or being the mastermind of the attack saying that he had never killed before. 

When asked to confirm that he collected the sum of N4.1 million as part of his own share of ransom, Kelvin said it was a lie.

Frank Azuekor while taking his turn to testify as DW 2 said he had never been arrested by the DSS operatives or stood trial before any court in Warri, Delta State, as alleged by the prosecution. 

He said the confessional statement tendered in court by the prosecution was cooked up to implicate them and that the statement he made while in DSS custody was obtained under duress.

Also called as witnessed in the matter was Michael Omonigho as DW 3, the chief priest of Kokori Community. He told the court that Kelvin had never come to his shrine.

Another witness, Isa Uthman, a cinematographer was also called to testify to the video he downloaded from the 'YouTube' where Ozekhome addressed a world press conference and made statements that contradicted what he told court when testified.

The court also admitted the video clip as evidence but refused to play it in the open court as requested by the defence counsel Bala Dakum, Esq. for the reasons known to the court.

The case which started in 2014 has witnessed several delays and adjournments.

The case was first assigned to Justice Adeniyi Ademola who took about four prosecution witnesses before he was arrested by DSS. He was suspended and while he was facing trial, the case was assigned to Justice Babatunde Quadri.

However, before Justice Babatunde Quadri could make any progress, Justice Ademola was reinstated and he took over the case but later resigned from the office in a controversial manner after he was accused of corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The case file was later reassigned to Justice Binta Nyako.

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