July 18, 2024

An Enugu Magistrate Court has ordered the detention of Igwe Herbert Ukuta, the traditional ruler of Igga community in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area, along with a former councillor and three others, in connection with the alleged murder of two policemen.

Igwe Ukuta, who had been held at the State Criminal Investigation Department for over a month, and his co-defendants were brought before Enugu North Magistrate Court 1 by the Enugu State Police Command. The charges against them include alleged membership in a terrorist group and conspiracy to commit murder.

The case, listed as No: MEN/320c/2024, involves the Commissioner of Police (Kanayo Uzuegbu) against Igwe Herbert Ukuta, 62; Festus Okonkwa, 62; Ofadile Titus Henry, 39; Sunday Ugwu, 26; and Obinna Ayogu, 54.

The accused face multiple charges, including conspiracy, involvement with the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its security wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), and the murders of five individuals, including two police officers.

The police claim that the defendants’ actions violate several sections of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022, and the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Some of the charges read: “That you HRM Igwe Herbert Ukuta, ‘m, Festus Okonkwa ‘m’; Ofadile Titus Henry ‘m’; Sunday Ugwu ‘m’’; Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the day of May 2024 at about 1315hours along Adarice Farm Road, Adarice in Uzo-Uwani Magisterial District holden in Enugu did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: Membership of a terrorist group and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1) and punishable under Section 25(3) and Section 18 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta, ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did join, belong and participate in the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network which is a proscribed terrorist group by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 25(3) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you, HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta, ‘m’ and Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did recruit Festus Okonkwa, ‘m, Ofodile Titus Henry, ‘m, Sunday Ugwu, ‘m’ and others now at large into the membership and activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network which is a proscribed terrorist group by the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 18 of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you, HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta, ‘m’ and Obinna Ayogu, ‘m’, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did knowingly of the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network within Igga Community and Adarice Farm Settlement, concealed and failed to report the same to the law enforcement agencies and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16(1)(a)&(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the 3 day of May, 2024 at about 13:15 hours along Adarice Farm Road, Adarice in Uzo-Uwani Magisterial District holden in Enugu did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: Murder and thereby committed an offence punishable unde Section 516(A) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did unlawfully kill Police Inspector Nwoga Cornellus ‘m’ by shooting him with a gun, which led to his death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316(1) and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did unlawfully kill Police Constable Ikowa Anthony ‘m’ by shooting him with a gun, which led to his death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316(1) and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did unlawfully kill Emegoni Aloysius ‘m’ by shooting him with a gun, which led to his death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316(1) and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkw ‘m’, Ofodile Titus Henry ‘m’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did unlawfully kill Adada Joshua ‘m’ by shooting him with a gun, which led to his death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316(1) and punishable under section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

“That you HRH Igwe Herbert Ukuta ‘m’, Festus Okonkwo Titus Henry’’, Sunday Ugwu ‘m’, Obinna Ayogu ‘m’ and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District holden in Enugu did unlawfully kill Eze Fidelis ‘m’ by shooting him with a gun, which led to his death and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 316(1) and punishable under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code Cap C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”

During the court proceedings, the accused did not enter a plea, as the magistrate lacked the jurisdiction to handle cases under the Federal Act.

Consequently, all five individuals were remanded to Enugu Maximum Correctional Centre.

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