Four aides of Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, were among leaders and members of various cult groups arraigned before a Special Magistrate Court created by the state Chief Judge, Justice Cromwell Idahosa, in Benin, the state capital.
Among the accused were Chairman, Edo State Committee on War Against Indiscipline, David Olukoga, 46; Senior Special Assistant on Youth Enhancement to the Governor, Osunde Aigbedo, 48; the Executive Director, Special Duties, Government House, Salako Adebowale, 43; and Isabor Larry, a staffer of the Edo State House of Assembly.
The Special Magistrate Court was setup by Justice Idahosa to prosecute them because congestions in various prisons and police detention cells in the state and the prolonged judicial workers strike.
Beside the governor’s aides, 129 of the accused were nabbed by combined police special squad from Delta Anambra states as well as Federal SAARS, Abuja, deployed to the state by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, between June 2 and 3 had earlier been arraigned before the court, bringing the total number of the accused to 227 on trial for various cult-related charges.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Samuel Adegbuyi, said after the March 2015 general elections, especially, the presidential polls, the command had challenges in crime wave including cultism, armed robbery, murder and other social vices.
“All these challenges became worrisome. I had no choice than to call the Inspector- General of Police who swiftly drafted more personnel from Delta Anambra states and Federal SARS to the state.”
He disclosed that on completion of investigations, 129 were arraigned on 2nd and 3rd of June while yesterday 98 were arraigned in court in connection with the offences.
Adegbuyi added that the command recovered several dangerous weapons and other items bearing the marks of some of the cult members including two locally-made pistols, four cut-to-size guns, four double barrel guns, eight single barrel guns, four AK47 rifles, three pump action guns, 146 live cartridges, eight cutlasses, two battle axes, one teargas, one short sword with cult symbol, a plague, two Neo Black Movement regalia and one shocking baton.
The proceedings of the court headed by Magistrate Adiaken were shifted to the premises of the police command.
They accused were arrested by the police in various parts of the state for offences ranging from being members of rival secret cults, murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, unlawful possession of firearms and other social vices.
The aides of the governor and eight others are on trial on a 13-count charge.
The case is between the commissioner of police and the accused in the suit number CR/01/C/2015.
The accused are David Olukoga (36 years), Salako ASdebowale (43), Osunde Aigbedo (48), Ahunwa-ID Orlando (39), Uche Chukwuka (36) and Adebo Eguaoja (46).
Others are Totti Omonuwa (42), Ernest Adadasu (49), Isabor Larry (34), Felix .O. Evbodi (34), Joshua Ehiabahi (36) and Bright Nosakhare (32) respectively.
They were said to have participated in the activities of the rival secret cult groups which unleashed terror in the past one month which led to the killing of over 25 victims.
Part of the charge read to the accused stated that: “You…between 1st February 2015 and 12 May, 2015 at Benin City in the Oredo magisterial district being public officers and professionals in the Edo state civil service system did conspire amongst yourselves and others now at large to engage in Black Axe, Marphites, Eiye, Aiye, Jurist, Vickins, Norsemen secret cults initiations and illicit cult activities in Edo state and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 4 (b) of the Edo state secret cult (prohibition) law 2000.”
The accused were remanded in prison as the magistrate ordered that their case files be referred to the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, for advice following an application before the court for bail by counsel to the 12 defendants/accused, Mr. Anthony A. Orunkoya.
The case was adjourned till September 9 for hearing.


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