FIVE farmers from Gwer-East Local Government Area of Benue were on Monday brought before a Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court over alleged extortion from motorists on the highway.
The farmers, Kumatough Igbakura, Aveyina Yaaer, Iorshe Atsaga, Depuun Segher and James Huma, were charged with criminal conspiracy, illegal blocking of highway and extortion, punishable under Sections 97, 196, and 293 of the Penal Code of Benue, 2004.
The Prosecutor, Sgt. Friday Kanshio, told the court that one Ezekiel Tsegba of Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Makurdi, had reported the matter at the Police CID, Makurdi, on Aug. 27, 2020.
Kanshio said that Tsegba had earlier told the police that while he was on routine patrol with his men at Gwer-East and Ogbadibo, as the head of monitoring unit on illegal produce checkpoints in Benue, they caught the defendants unlawfully blocking the public highway with logs of wood.
The prosecutor said that the defendants were also caught issuing fake revenue receipts to motorists and extorting them in the name of BIRS.
Kanshio said that the defendants were arrested during police investigation and that they had all confessed to committing the offence.
However, when the case came up, all the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The prosecutor told the court that the case was still under investigation and applied for an adjournment.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr Vincent Kor, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of N100,000 each and a surety each in like sum.
Kor adjourned the matter until Oct. 2, 2020 for hearing.
– Sept. 7, 2020 @18:31 GMT |