Four men who were accused of engaging in land grabbing and possession of illegal firearms in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos were on Friday remanded in prison custody on the order of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.
The accused are 25-year-old Ganiyu Alabi, David Murphy, 27; Folarin Isiaka, 42 and 28-year-old Kehinde Musa.
Court ordered their remand in the prison custody shortly after they were arraigned on six counts by the police.
The charges against the accused border on land grabbing, unlawful possession of firearms, breach of public peace, robbery among others.
The police accused them of sacking seven communities at Oko-Olomi, Ibeju Lekki by demolishing, with the use of caterpillars, several houses standing on 1,561 hectares of land. The police also alleged that the defendants, while armed with guns, axes, cutlasses and charms, conspired with some persons still at large to sack the seven communities at about 8am on April 17, 2016.
They were said to have invaded the communities in seven pick-up vans, six buses and a caterpillar, while brandishing guns to intimidate members of the communities.
They were also accused of beating up the residents and inflicting bodily injuries on some members of the communities, whose names were given as Muniru Salia, Raji Adisa, Kamol Agoro, Bariu Abuogunloko, Edward Onwunle, Tolani Anifowoshe, Tajudeen Eleku, Kufuli Babatunde, Waliu Alabi, Mohammed Quadri, Ajoke Abiodun and Taiwo Agbaje.
The police claimed that after the defendants inflicted physical injuries on the victims, the defendants went on to demolish the victims’ houses and thereafter stole 150 cows belonging to the victims. The defendants were further accused of going away a Pathfinder jeep valued at N2.5m, one ash colour Xterra jeep valued at N3.5m and a Toyota Camry car valued at N1m.
The police claimed to have recovered from the defendants three pump action guns, numbered, 2856, 8976 and 2598; one double-barreled gun and two live cartridges.
The defendants were accused of violating sections 86, 355, 390, 451 and 516 of the Criminal Code. They were also accused of acting contrary to Section 27(1)(a)(I) of the Firearms Act Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
When the charges were read in English language and interpreted to them in Yoruba language on Friday, Alabi, Murphy, Isiaka and Musa pleaded not guilty.
While adjourning till November 24, 2016 for the hearing of their bail applications, Justice Buba said they should be remanded in the prison custody until then.
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