General News of Wednesday, 17 July 2019
One of the three Nigerians involved in the kidnapping of two Canadian ladies in Kumasi, has complained bitterly to an Accra High Court of unfair and biased treatment on the part of the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) to towards them.
According to him, the BNI had been biased in handling the three of them, as against their Ghanaian counterparts, who they are standing trial with.
Referring to himself in particular, he cried out that the BNI denied him access to speak with his wife, as well as calling other family members.
The suspect lamented so much to the court presided over by Justice George Buadi yesterday, that unlike their Ghanaian counterparts, who are being held together in BNI custody, they were being treated differently.
The three Nigerians in that the trial are, Elvis Oyijorwe, Sampson Aghalor, Jeff Omarsar and Abdul Nasir, while their Ghanaian accomplices are Yusif Yakubu, Safianu Abubakari, Abdul Rahman Sulemana, and Seidu Abubakari.
The eight have been arraigned before the court for conspiracy to kidnap, and kidnapping of the two Canadians – Lauren Patricia Tilley and Barley Jordan Chitty.
However, the first accused, Elvis Oyijorwe’s concern was that “It been two weeks and we have not been allowed/give the access to call our families… the two Ghanaians have been given access to call their families.”
The Presiding Judge, as a result, demanded that he point out the names of the Ghanaians who the BNI had been allowing to contact their relations, to which he reluctantly mentioned Seidu Abubakari.
Justice George Buadi also asked him whether the Nigerian High Commission had contacted him, and he answered in the affirmative. To the judge, it is the High Commission’s responsibility to contact his family on his behalf.
But, since suspect Elvis, together with three others, do not have legal representations, he told the court that his mother was old and that he had not heard from her over a month, and as such he wants to assure her that he is still alive.
Hilda Craig, Senior State Attorney, on the other hand, questioned him that if he, indeed, had been denied access to contact his family, how did he get to know his wife was denied access to speak with him.
Ms Craig told the court that it could not be the truth, but the suspect maintained his stance, arguing that he saw his wife at the court premises at the earlier sitting, stressing that his wife was in Ghana for three days, but was not allowed to see him.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel for sixth accused pleaded with the court to grant his client bail, but the Senior State Attorney opposed it, saying that the prosecution team needed more time to conclude its investigations.
According to her, the matter is a serious one, and was of great public interest as well, as fresh evidence emerging demands that the court grant them adequate time to conduct thorough investigations.
But counsel argued strongly that the prosecution team was only buying time to delay the case, hence, they should be up and doing.
In his submission, they are enthused for further investigations as been requested by the prosecution team, but since the commencement of the trial, no investigator has approached the suspects for further interrogations.
Thus, he said: “We are of [the] firm conviction that [the] prosecution is only buying time to punish the accused persons unreasonably,” while quoting an authority, “Bail is so fundamental and should not be treated with levity.”
He complained that the prosecution team presented six names on the charge sheet, but has presented eight accused persons.
However, Ms Craig insisted: “We are saying that investigations are still ongoing, and, therefore, we would plead for more time because of public interest in the matter. We are pleading that we are given enough to do thorough investigations. We plead that the court gives us two weeks.”
Justice George Buadi upheld the Senior Attorney’s plea and adjourned the trial to July 29, 2019, and ordered that the accused are given the opportunity to contact their families under uncompromising conditions.