Sequel to penultimate week’s crisis at the Rivers State House of Assembly, following a failed attempt by five members of the House to impeach the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, last week, the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi inaugurated a Judicial Commission of Inquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the events that took place on July 9 and 10 in the Assembly.
Inaugurating the 8-man Commission, led by Justice B.A. Georgewill, Deputy Governor of the State, Engr. Tele Ikuru, who represented the Governor, charged members of the Commission to investigate and ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the crisis at the Assembly on Tuesday, 9th and Wednesday, 10th July, 2013.
The commission is also mandated to identify those directly and indirectly involved, the number of persons injured or threatened with injury, ascertain properties destroyed, their owners and the valued of such properties, as well as ascertain whether internal or external persons or factors outside the Assembly influenced or were involved in the crisis, and to what extent.
They are also to investigate any other matter or matters that may come to the knowledge of the commission in the course of its deliberations not covered by in the terms of reference and submit their recommendations on or before October 15, 2013.
Reacting to the inauguration of the commission, political observers hailed this action, expressing the hope that it would bring about peace in the state.
Also in the week under review, the Rivers State Police Command declared wanted the Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd, in connection with the July 9 fracas on the floor of the House. The Police said he was wanted for alleged conspiracy, attempted murder, wounding and willful damage. Hon. Lloyd was alleged to have attempted to murder the legislator representing Obio/Akpor Constituency 11, Hon. Michael Chinda during the attempted impeachment of the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Amachree, by five members.
The Leader of the House had, through his Counsel, Beneolisa Nwaofor, prayed the court to stop the Police from arresting him.
But the presiding Judge, Justice Esor Teetito declined to grant the application and directed that the Police be notified, while adjourning the matter to July 25, 2013.
He justified the adjournment with the explanation that “the nature of the application is the type that the respondent should be put on notice — to enable them come and defend their actions”.
Barely hours after the Rivers State Police Command declared Hon. Lloyd wanted, the Inspector-General of Police invited him to Abuja. This development left many wondering if there was no synergy in the operations of the office of the Inspector-General of Police and the State Police Command. The invitation by the IGP, it was observed, should have come first before declaring the Leader wanted.
In another development, the 27 pro-Amaechi lawmakers in the House vowed to defend the State from those they described as: “political predators” in the on-going political crisis in the state. They also warned the leader of the five anti-Amaechi lawmakers, Hon. Evans Bipi to desist from parading himself as the Speaker of the House.
In a statement entitled, “Our position”, and signed by 26 of them, they vowed to defend the State from political predators “scavenging for cheap popularity and a harvest of political fortunes”. They urged the public to ignore Bipi’s claim to the leadership of the Assembly.
Responding, Hon. Bipi argued that he was duly elected as Speaker, following an impeachment of Rt. Hon. Amachree.
Businessman Docked For Theft Of Melon
Godwin Thomas,35,of North Bank, Makurdi, was on Friday arraigned before a Makurdi Magistrates’ Court for alleged conspiracy and theft of melon.
The prosecutor, Sgt. Godwin Ato, told the court that the case was reported by one Ukaan Shimana of behind NKST Church, North Bank Makurdi, at the ‘C’ Division Police Station, North Bank.
Ato said that the complainant kept three bags of Egusi (melon) worth N200,000 with Godwin Thomas, Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor.
Ato said that the defendants were the custodians of a store along Ter-Guma Street in North Bank area of Makurdi.
The prosecutor said that the complainant later discovered that the bags were missing.
He alleged that the defendant and his friends had stolen the bags containing the melon when she went there to collect them.
Ato also said that Ebuka Emmanuel and Titus Kpanor were immediately arrested and charged to Chief Magistrate’s Court 8, North Bank.
The prosecutor said that during further investigation by the police, the defendant who initially was at large; was later arrested in connection with the crime.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the offence.
The prosecutor told the court that investigation into the matter had been completed and that other defendants were already standing trial at CMC 8 North Bank in Makurdi.
Ato said that the court should arraign the defendants in the same court.
He prayed the court to adjourn so that the case could be transferred to CMC 8 North Bank.
The magistrate, Mrs Ajuma Igama, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000.00 with one surety who must be a civil servant with Benue Government.
Igama also ordered that the case file be transferred to CMC 8 for hearing and determination of the case.
She adjourned until Jan 24 for hearing.
Police Arraign Three For Damaging N1.8m Parking Iron Bars
The police yesterday arraigned three men in a Karmo Grade I Area Court, Abuja, for allegedly damaging parking iron bars worth N1.8 million.
The police charged Mohammed Musa, Innocent Adama and Izuchukwu Nwaigwe with two counts of joint act and mischief.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mrs Ijeoma Ukagha, told the court that the matter was reported at the Utako Police Station on Dec. 14, 2019, by one Adewole Adeola, who of Dove Court Estate, Abuja.
Ukagha alleged that the defendants intentionally damaged the iron bars and demarcation drums worth N1.8million at the Dove Estate.
She said the offence contravened the provisions of sections 79 and 327 of the Penal Code.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The judge, Alhaji Inuwa Maiwada, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N200, 000 each, with a surety each in like sum.
Maiwada ordered that the sureties must be reliable and must deposit his or her identity card at the court registry for verification.
He also ordered that the sureties must resides within the jurisdiction of the court and his or she address must be verified by the court officer.
Maiwada adjourned the case until Feb. 12 for hearing.
Missing N35m: Defence Counsel’s Ill-Health Stalls Trial Of JAMB Official
The trial of Yakubu Jekada, one of the accused persons charged with the misappropriation of N35 million belonging to JAMB, was stalled in an FCT High Court, Maitama, due to the defendant counsel’s ill-health.
Jekada was first arraigned on May 31, 2018 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Peter Affen of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), sitting in Maitama, Abuja.
He was arraigned on a four count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and dishonest use of JAMB funds to the tune of N11.189 million.
The JAMB official was accused of committing criminal breach of trust while being JAMB state coordinator for Plateau between 2009 and 2016 when he was entrusted with 11, 189 units of e-facility cards belonging to the Board which he disposed without duly rendering accounts to the Board.
On the resumed sitting on Tuesday, the Prosecution Counsel, Mr Ekene Iheanacho, informed the court that the matter was for continuation of trial and he was with his two witnesses.
Responding, Mr Gyang Zi, counsel to Jekada, prayed for an adjournment.
“I took ill yesterday before I left Jos. I am feeling funny, and I went to get some drugs thinking it would help me out.
“But it continued, I sincerely apologise for the inconveniences it would cause the court and others, including the witnesses,” Zi said.
Iheanacho said that the learned counsel has presented a sympathetic picture before the court based on health.
“So, we will not be objecting to his application for adjournment,” Iheanacho said.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Peter Affen adjourned the matter until March 3, for continuation of trial.
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