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Politics of Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Source: The Nation

14 ex-governor’s loyalists get bail

There was a mild drama at an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court, Imo State on Monday when one of the 14 suspects arraigned for allegedly unsealing an estate belonging to Nkechi, wife of Senator Rochas Okorocha slumped inside the courtroom.

The slumped suspect, Darlington Ibekwe and the 13 other Okorocha loyalists were however granted bail N70 million bail.

Okorocha was however not listed in the charge sheet by the Police which told the court that two  of his  sons-in-law, Uche Nwosu and Uzoma Anwuka as well as two aides were “at large.”

Police prosecutor Omo-Osagie M. A, gave the names of the others “at large” as – Lasberry Okaforanyanwu and  Ijeoma Igboanusi.  . He was silent on whether or not they had been declared wanted.

Apart from Ibekwe, 13 other arraigned  suspects  included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom, and Ekpendu Peace.

Others were Nev Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechifulam, and Olu Chizoba.

They were arraigned on  a six-count of conspiring to commit misdemeanor and attempting  to overthrow the state government, an offence which,  according to the court, is   punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal code cap “C38” Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Imo State.

They  were also charged for disobedience of the law of the state-issued through the office of the Commissioner for Lands, Survey and Urban Planning in Gazette/White paper on the judicial commission of inquiry on lands and related matters June 2006.

The breach, according to the police, is the  removal of  the seal of the government  and entering the sealed premises of Royal Palm Spring Estate.

However, Chief Magistrate  Adike said all the offences were bailable.  But she pointed out that the nature of the charge was a factor to be considered for bail application.

The Police prosecutor  had  told the court that Okorocha’s former appointees – Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Ijeoma Igboanusi, and his sons-in-law, Uche Nwosu and Uzoma Anwuka were at large.

While Ibekwe was also accused of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media with the intent to injure the reputation of the  government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma by  exposing them to hatred, contempt, and ridicule,  Olu Chizoba was charged with unlawful possession of  a double-barrel pump action gun.

After the charge was read to the suspects, their counsel ,Eddy Onyema, sought  their bail, assuring that they would return to the court for their trial.

Immediately after, the Chief  magistrate retired to her office  for some minutes, But as  she  was about to rule on  the bail application after the short break, Ibekwe slumped.

He was, however, revived with water  by his fellow suspects before the  proceeding continued.

The magistrate   granted them  bail with an option of N5 million each to produce a surety which must be a traditional ruler or a member of his cabinet with valid identification documents.

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