A Makurdi Chief Magistrate Court has declined to grant bail to six armed Fulani herdsmen who were apprehended by security operatives over the New Year attack and killing of 73 persons in five villages in Guma and Logo local government areas of Benue State.
Afri-post reports that the accused persons, Ibrahim Saleh, Jibrin Adamu, Magaji Yau, Ibrahim Abubakar, Useni Bala, Sabin Yau, are facing charges of culpable homicide, criminal conspiracy, mischief by fire, grievous hurt and violation of the prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.
The herders were also arraigned for openly rearing their cattle within farmlands at Akor village in Guma local government area which outrightly contravenes section 97, 329, 333 and 222 of the penal code law of the state and section 19(2)(3) of the open grazing prohibition and ranches establishment law of Benue State 2017.
It could be recalled that were first arraigned on Friday 5th January 2018 before Chief Magistrate Isaac Ajim who ordered that the accused be remanded in Makurdi medium prison.
When the case came up for mention on Monday, no plea was taken for want of jurisdiction.
This was as the principal State Counsel, Mrs. M.N Abenga from the state Ministry of Justice formally applied to take over the motions from the initial prosecution counsel, ASP Edward Imoh and the substantive case.
Mrs. Abenga also filed another application urging the court not to grant bail to the accused persons pending the determination of the substantive suit and sought for an adjournment to enable the ministry conclude on it legal advice.
Counsel to the defendants, Al-Mustapha Elegu did not oppose the application which was granted by the Presiding Chief Magistrate, Isaac Ajim who Presided over the case.
Ajim told the accused that the offence they committed was grievous and that he needed legal advice from the ministry before ruling on any application for bail and ordered that they still be remanded at the Makurdi Federal Medium Prisons.
He later adjourned the case to 29th March 2018 for ruling on the application for bailing and 11th April 2018 for hearing of substantive suit respectively.
Counsel to the accused, Almustapha Elegu while speaking with journalists after the court sitting, averred that he did not raise any objection to the motions raised by the state counsel for the reason that there was no basis for it at the moment.