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Promoting Good Governance.

Court remands six suspects over murder of two catholic priests in Benue

SIX persons suspected to have carried out an attack on a Catholic Church in Benue State, during which two priests were murdered alongside 17 others, have been remanded in the Makurdi Medium Prison.

Reverend Fathers Joseph Gor and Felix Tyolaha and the 17 other members of Saint Ignatius Catholic Church, Mbalom in Gwer East Local Government Area, Benue State, were murdered on April 24.

Isaac Ajim, the magistrate in charge of the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Makurdi, gave the ruling after the suspects were arraigned in court.

All of the suspects are members of the Benue State Livestock Guards, the group formed by the State Government to enforce the State’s newly promulgated anti-open grazing law.

They include: Tashaku Aliyu, Commander of the Livestock Guards; Husseini Manga, Ngyohov Shin, David Akenawe, Agada Tsesaa and Tarza Orvanya.

The police prosecutor, Edward Imo, told the court that the accused persons unlawfully and illegally procured guns and actively assisted herdsmen to terrorise and kill farmers contrary to the anti-open grazing law of government.

Imo said it took a combined team of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (F-SARS), the Department of State Services (DSS) and men of the Nigerian Army arrest to Aliyu and took him to Abuja for interrogation.

In his ruling, Chief Magistrate Ajim ordered that the accused be remanded in Makurdi prison, and adjourned the case till July 17 for further hearing.

Aliyu, whose other names was given by the Nigerian Army as  Aminu Yaminu, was described as a Boko Haram commander. He was arrested on April 28 in Makurdi, Benue State.

A statement issued at the time of his arrest by Olabisi Ayeni, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi, read thus: “Following an intelligence report, it was gathered that Aminu has concluded plans with his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Nasarawa states to launch a major attack on innocent citizens in Benue state.

“As earlier reinstated, Nigerian Army will ensure enemies of peace in the state are brought to justice.”

Following the arrest, Ahmad Salkida, a journalist known to have contacts with Boko Haram, described Aliyu not only as a Boko Haram fighter, but also a “contractor” who is willing to work for the “highest bidder”.

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