Two people are currently being tried by the court of law over the death of a senior university lecturer who was kidnapped and killed.
A Chief Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has ordered the remand in prison custody of three persons for allegedly kidnapping and killing a lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Dr. Eeba Lebarile, according to The Nation.
The suspects are: Christopher Kinanee, the deceased’s gateman, 41; Lebari Robert Tambari, ex-police officer, who was the victim’s cousin, 48; and Ibrahim Useni, a foreigner from the Republic of Benin, 27.
The suspects were arrested between December 2015 and early this month. Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, through his Special Monitoring Unit in the state, led by Ben Igwe, a deputy commissioner of police, investigated the killing.
Two other Benin Republic nationals allegedly involved in the crime are at large. The IGP charged the suspects with conspiracy, kidnapping and murder.
The police lawyer, who is prosecuting for the IGP, Mr. Okon Monday Umana, told the court the suspects committed an offence punishable under sections 324,319(1), 516(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37, Volume 2, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999 and sections, 1(1) (2)(a) of Rivers State kidnap (prohibitions) amendment law No.5 of 2015.
The Chief Magistrate, Andrew Jaja, ordered that the charge be read out to them, but they were not allowed to take plea. He said the court lacked power to entertain the charge, being a capital offence punishable with maximum sentence.
Jaja ordered that the original case file be duplicated and handed over to the court registrar, to forward same to the Office of the State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
He adjourned the case till September 28 for report of DPP advice. Dr. Lebari of the Department of Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), was reportedly kidnapped from his Mercyland Estate home on East West Road, in Obio/Akpor Local Government, on October 17, 2015.
His abductors allegedly called his younger brother, who is overseas, to demand N1.5 million ransom.
The decayed body of the victim was recovered from a shallow grave in his house. The first accused (guard, who allegedly sold the victim’s galaxy phone, showed the police where the deceased was buried.
Investigations are on to unravel the mystery behind his kidnap and death.