A Delta State High Court, Asaba Tuesday sentenced three persons arrested and charged to court for kidnapping the wife of a former Ughelli South Local Government Council Chairman, Mrs. Elizabeth Otidi, to a total of 51 years in prison. The convicts, Kelly Ogun, a 33 year-old farmer, Udoji Peter, age 35 and also a farmer and 26 year old taxi driver, Iloaria Jonathan are to spend 17 years each behind the iron bars after they were found guilty of the counts of conspiracy and kidnapping.
The court sentenced the trio to a jail term of seven years each on the count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping and ten years each for the substantive offence of kidnapping while they were discharged on count three as the court ruled that prosecution failed to establish essential ingredients of the offence (demanding with menace) beyond reasonable doubts. Prosecution from the Delta State Ministry of Justice had told the court that on or about the 28 January, 2010, the three accused persons with others now at large, conspired and executed their conspiracy by kidnapping Otidi while she was returning from market in her car.
The offence was committed at Kiagbodo, within Bomadi Judicial Division. The court was further told that the kidnappers numbering over six in a Volk Wagen Jetta car drove dangerously and hit their victim’s car from the rear as she slowed down to negotiate a speed breaker, following which the kidnappers jumped down from their own vehicle, seized and whisked her away to a forest across the Bomadi River.
The court also heard that the convicts demanded for N30 million ransom from the victim’s husband before she could be set free.
Otidi, who identified her kidnappers in her evidence-in-Chief during trial, said she showed signs of bravery as she outwitted her abductors and escaped from their den in the night after pretending to be pressed. The three kidnappers who allegedly made voluntary confessional statements to the police admitted to the offence, they later denied all the charges levelled against them during trial.