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Regional News of Thursday, 9 March 2023


Court remands ex-Imo deputy governor in prison

Gerald Irona, former deputy governor of Imo State Gerald Irona, former deputy governor of Imo State

A Magistrates’ court in Owerri, Imo State, on Thursday, remanded the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Gerald Irona, in prison custody.

The presiding magistrate, C. N Ezerioha, after hearing the prosecution counsel and defence counsel, ordered that Irona be remanded in Owerri correctional centre.

She further said that the court does not have the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Irona who was the deputy governor of the state between May 29 2019 and January 14, 2020, was arrested in his house in Owerri, the state capital by the Nigerian Police.

A statement issued by the ex-deputy governor’s media aide, Destiny Ugorji, confirmed the arrest of Irona.

He said that his principal had made the statement and had met the bail conditions but there was pressure from the state government to keep him in detention till after this weekend’s election 2jich had been postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The statement read “as part of its strategy towards weakening opposition in Imo State, the Imo State Government, Wednesday, orchestrated the arrest of the immediate past Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona, over trumped-up charges.

“Irona’s arrest came on the heels of a scheduled House of Assembly and gubernatorial election, fixed to hold nationwide on Saturday, March 11, 2023.

“As at the time of this statement, Wednesday afternoon, the former Deputy Governor had written his Statement at the Police, a bail bond issued, signed, and all the bail conditions fulfilled.

“There is however a twist, following pressure from the Imo State Government House, allegedly ordering the State Police command to detain the former Deputy Governor until after Saturday’s election.

“Let it be clear to Nigerians and the entire world that Wednesday’s arrest of former Deputy Governor Gerald Irona is politically motivated and Governor Hope Uzodinma is clearly behind it.

“It is on record that a day before the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the home of the House of Representatives candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Kingsley Uju was invaded by agents of the state, after earlier attempts on his life. The CUPP spokesman, Ikenga Ugochinyere’s home was also severely attacked, lives and property destroyed, after a series of attempts on his life.

“Senator Hope Uzodinma must realise that power is transient, and nobody occupies the seat of power forever.

“Nigerians must rise to resist this fascist regime in Imo State. Let it be known that there is no amount of intimidation that will save the unpopular Hope Uzodinma-led administration in Imo State from another round of defeat in Saturday’s election.”