…Fixes March, 2, For Full Trial
The Presiding Magistrate, magistrate court 5, Asaba, Delta state capital, B.N. Anumadu, on Monday adjourned to March, 2, 2020, the hearing of the defamatory charges brought against the Managing Editor of BIGPEN Online newspaper, Joe Ogbodu, and investigative journalist in Delta State, Prince Amour Udemude.
At the resume of the case, a lawyer who introduced himself as M.A. Omakor, told the trail magistrate, that he was watching brief for the claimant, Sam Ogrih, announcing that he has written to the state Attorney General and commissioner for justice for a ‘fiat’ to formally take over the matter from the state criminal investigation department, (CID), Delta state police command that is currently prosecuting the two Journalist’s.
According to Omakor, “The letter I wrote to the state Attorney General for a ‘fiat’ for me to formally take over the matter, has been responded to but the problem now is that the replied letter is not eligible, the words are not clear to read and as a result we have written another to the state Attorney General, but he has asked why should he issue me another letter when he has already issued me one.
“Your lordship, for this reason, I am applying for an adjournment, to enable me reach out to the state Attorney General concerning the ‘fiat’, and I want to take March, 2, 2020, to enable me do all I needed to do and when we come back there won’t be any reason for any excuse my lordship.”
In his submission, lead counsel to the two Journalists, C.F. Ebu, argued that it is very obvious that both the police and the claimant were not ready for the case and urged the trial Magistrate, to struck out the case.
“Your Lordship, it is very clear that they are not ready for the case. My clients were first arraigned in this court, October, 24, 2019, and this is January 2020 and nothing has been done my Lord. You will see that my learned friend is only playing gimmicks. They are not prepared to go with this case, my lord my application before this court is that the case be struck out my lord.”
At this point, the lead counsel to the two Journalists, sought leave of court for the claimant’s counsel to drop a copy of the response to his letter from the state Attorney General for the court to see whether actually a response letter from the state Attorney General that was probably typed on a computer cannot be visible to read.
But, this request, the claimant’s counsel turned down and appealed to the Magistrate to accept his proposed adjourned date with a promise to tidy up everything before the next adjournment date.
After listening to both counsels, the Presiding Magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, told the claimant’s counsel to his house in order, saying any further excuse from him on the next adjourned date will not be accepted by her court and therefore adjourned the case till March, 2, 2020.
Our correspondent reports that, since the two Journalists were first arraigned in October, 24, 2019, the police prosecutor, has failed to come to court for all the adjourned dates, an indication that the police may have lost interest to the case which may have also forced the claimant to hire the services of a lawyer to take over the case.
It was reliably gathered that, the police could not lay hands on any evidence to nail the two Journalists and as the police have maintained that he who claimed to have been defamed must prove his or her case beyond reasonable doubt because a case of defamation is not that easy to prove.
It would be recalled that, October, 24, 2019, the two Journalists were arraigned by the Delta state police command, following a petition by one Sam Ogrih, that he was defamed in a story alleging him funding and sponsoring some armed Uzere community youth with the codename “Freedom Fighters” who unleashed mayhem on the community over N20 million oil largesse gifted the community by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
According to the report, some community sources who fled the town at the wake of the mayhem caused by the armed community “freedom fighters”, had alleged that Ogrih, was the one funding and sponsoring the armed youth terrorising the area with guns, battle axe and cutlasses.
Ogrih had denied any involvement in the alleged funding and sponsoring of the armed youth unleashing mayhem in the community.
Why Prince Nonso Nwoko is facing terrorism trial
Idumuje Igboko is located in Aniocha, North of Delta State and bordered to the East by Idumuje-Unor, Ekpon or Akpu to the North West, Ohodua to the North East, Igbodo to the West and Onicha-Ugbo to the South.
Idumuje-Ugboko was founded in the 17th century. Historians are of the opinion that a core group of settlers led by Nwoko, his siblings and relations founded the community.
Idumuje-Ugboko is made of four villages. They are Atuma, Ogbe-Obi, Ogbe-Ofu and Onicha-Ukwu (Ogbe-Akwu). The four villages are reputed to have migrated from various towns and kingdoms in and around the present states of Delta, Edo and Ondo.
For instance, the Atuma village is said to have migrated from Owo, a town in present-day Ondo State, the Ogbe-Ofu from Emu, an Ishan speaking town in present-day Edo state, the Ogbe-Obi from Uzebu in the old Benin kingdom and Onicha-Ukwu from Onicha-Ukwu, a town in present-day Delta State. Among the four villages, the Onicha-Ukwu was the last of the villages to settle in Idumuje-Ugboko.
There are 16 Ebos and 24 quarters, commonly known as Idumu. The town is relatively known for its peaceful coexistence of his people since it was founded until thugs unleased mayhem on the community. After the mayhem, they left their trademark sorrow, tears and blood. The thugs were arrested and are currently facing criminal charges at the Federal High Court, Abuja
Chief Chris Ogwu is the prime minister of Ugboko, a former editor and retired journalist. He told this reporter how the incident happened. “Let me tell you, I was one of the victims of the mayhem. I was brutalized and my properties damaged by these boys. They abducted me and took me to the palace in front of Nonso where I was beaten up mercilessly.
“Between March 23rd and 26th, 2017, they unleashed mayhem on the Idumuje Ugboko community, attacked residents in their homes with guns, small axes, machetes, and sticks.
In the evening of 23rd of March, alarms were raised in the community by women and boys who were running helter-skelter and screaming.
“Upon stopping a few of them and asking what the problem was, it was learnt that thugs had invaded the residence of one Mr. Kennedy Nedu Iloh and had abducted him to an unknown destination. A search party made up of friends, family members and well-wishers later that night found and rescued him in the palace. His abductors had fled the scene on sighting his rescuers approaching their location’
“The next day, I, Chief Christopher Chukwuka Ogwu, the Iyase traditional prime minister of the Idumuje Ugboko Kingdom was seated in front of my house about 10 am when suddenly armed thugs attacked my home. They smashed the windscreens of two of my cars which were packed in front of my house – a Mercedes Benz 300 V-boot and a Toyota Camry (2.4cc). They entered the cars and stole some valuables such as telephones, cash, documents, etc. Meanwhile, I was abducted from my home to the palace grounds where I was ordered to lie on the grass after I had been thoroughly beaten up. Upon my return home, I found my home had been broken into and some of my valuables looted.
‘In continuation of these attacks, on the 25th and 25th, 21 other homes were similarly attacked at night with armed thugs roaming the community from village to village targeting homes of persons who supported the allocation of land to Lina’s International, a holding company owned by Prince Ned Nwoko who had applied to His Royal Majesty the Obi of Idumuje Ugboko for 90 hectares to build a sport university in Ugboko. His Royal Majesty (now late) was progressively inclined towards the university and had set up a 21-man land allocation of committee from amongst the membership of the Obi in Council (the official law making organ of the kingdom).
“I can tell you without mincing words that the thugs were sent to unleash the mayhem. At this time, Mr. Peter Bama was the chairman of local vigilante group set up in the community.
Also during the mayhem, Peter Bama’s home was one of those attacked. The thugs removed from his home some of the weapons and motorcycles which well-meaning members of the community had provided for the vigilante group. We reported the loss of the weapons and the motorcycles to the police who immediately gave assurance that they would investigate the robbery.”
Unfortunately, few months later, when a new vigilante group was launched in the community, the same supposedly lost weapons and motorcycles were released to them by the new tenants in the palace.
It would therefore appear that the palace harboured some of the items removed from victims’ homes. People have therefore drawn the conclusion that Prince Nonso sponsored the attacks but he had denied it in the past saying he did not send the thugs to attack anybody.
On the recent campaign of calumny against Prince Ned Nwoko, he said “those behind the said campaign want to divert attention from the criminal proceedings for murder and terrorism believing that if they raise false allegations against me I will tell the complainants to withdraw the matter in Abuja.”
The thugs are currently in Kuje prison because they couldn’t meet their bail conditions. They were granted bail of N50 million each.
COVID-19: UK returnees in Delta flouting self-isolation precautions, doctor cries out
By Iteveh Ekpokpobe
(COVID-19 Updates) – Delta State Epidemiologist, Dr. Richard Ikwuogu has raised alarm over three of Okpanam indigenes who recently returned from the United Kingdom, for flaunting the 14 days mandatory self isolation precautions against the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The alarm was contained in a message circulating on WhatsApp which read, “I am Dr. R.O.C Ikwuogu, Delta State Epidemiologist. I had a bitter experience todaý at Okpanam. The Epidemiology unit received report of Emeka Ijeh a returnee from London on 23/3/2020 who refused to isolate.”
“My SDSNO placed a call to him but the man was full of abuses on the SDSNO. We went we the intent of discussing why he should self isolate but because of the phone call experience, we went to the Ogoani of Okpanam who asked the Chairman if vigilante group in Okpanam to lead us to the place.”
“On getting to his house opposite the Omu of Okpanam. He was informed that some persons are looking for him. He came down and while we tried to exchange pleasantries, he started abusing us that we are infringing on his privacy.”
“When I tried to explain, he said that I would have the disease someday and ordered us out of his compound saying he is a WHO staff. We left quietly but I never knew that he was following us.”
“I will send to you what happened thereafter. The HCH could not come to our aid and the Police did nothing because no authority spoke on the matter.”
Confirming the report, Dr. Richard Ikwuogu, via a telephone chat with our correspondent, disclosed that their investigation was based on rumours which were however confirmed.
He disclosed that the first reported case was currently adhering to the regulations while the other two were willing to and had.
According to him, there was no suspected nor confirmed case of Corona Virus infection, so far, in Delta State.
Ikwuogu explained that a person must show symptoms of the virus before he or she is declared a suspect.
He urged Deltans to remain steadfast with the precautionary measures spelt out by the state government.
[BREAKING] COVID-19: Edo speaker tests positive
He said the state is taking measures to tackle further spread of the virus in the state.
The Chief Medical Director of Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital, Prof. Sylvania Okogbenin, had on Monday announced that Edo recorded its first case.
Shaibu said Governor Godwin Obaseki had also gone into isolation following his contact with the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, in Abuja.
Shaibu said Okiye, who travelled to the United Kingdom, went into self-isolation immediately after his return at the Irrua Specialist Hospital, Irrua, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State.
He noted that the two persons the speaker got in close contact with were his wife and daughter, whose samples have been taken and the results came out negative.
“He sent his sample for testing and the test came back positive. He is in a stable condition and his family members have been tested and the tests came back negative,” the Edo deputy governor stated.
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