There was a mild drama at an Owerri Magistrate Court, Imo State on Monday as one of the 14 suspects, Darlington Ibekwe, being arraigned for breaking into the sealed estate of the former governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha slumped inside the courtroom.

TheNigerialawyer gathered that Okorocha and about 19 others, were arrested Sunday evening by the police, but only 14 persons were however, arraigned in the Magistrate Court on a six-count charge, vide suit number OW/80C/2021.

The accused persons included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom, Ekpendu Peace and Nev F. Raphael.

Others are Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechefulam, Ibekwe Darlington and Olu Chizoba.

The charge sheet, which was signed by the O.C Legal/Prosecution Unit, Imo State Police Command, Mr. M. A. Omo-Osagie, a superintendent of police, specifically charged Olu Chizoba of unlawfully possessing one Italian made double barrel pump action gun, without license from the issuing authority.

The charge read: “That you, Olu Chizoba, on the 21st day of February, 2021, at about 1700 hours,in the premises of Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment, in the Akachi Area of Owerri Municipal, in the Owerri Magisterial District, did unlawfully had in your possession, one Italian made double barrel pump action gun, with breach number number 6546, without license from the issuing authority, contrary to Section 3 and punishable under Section 27(1)(iv) of the Firearm Act Cap F28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”

Similarly, Ibekwe Darlington was accused of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media, with intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma, “by exposing him to hatred, contempt, ridicule and to damage his reputation and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 375 of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”

The suspects and “Ebuka, surname unknown and others at large, including Chief Uche Nwosu, Chief Las Okafor Anyanwu, Dr. Uzoma Anwuka and Ijeoma Igboanuni, on the same date, time and place, in the aforementioned Magisterial District, willingly and unlawfully destroy the official seal of Imo State Government, one big padlock and chain valued at N35,000, used to seal Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartment, property of Ministry of Lands, Survey and Physical Planning, Imo State, and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”

Police prosecutor, Omo-Osagie M. A. told the court that Okorocha’s former appointees, Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Ijeoma Igboanusi and his son in-laws, Uche Nwosu and Dr. Uzoma Anwuka, were at large.

While Ibekwe was also accused of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media with intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma by exposing to hatred, contempt, ridicule and damage his reputation, Olu Chizoba was charged with unlawful possession of double barrel pump action gun without license.

After a six-count charge was read to the suspects, council to the defendants, Eddy Onyema, sought for their bail, assuring that they would return to the court to take their trial.

Onyema noted that none of the charges against the defendants was a capital offence, said, “worst, some of them are felony. That’s why we’re seeking for their bail”.

When the magistrate, B. U. Adikaibe, returned to the courtroom for her ruling, a suspect, Ibekwe, slumped.

He was however, revived by his fellow suspects, who pleaded for water with which he was revived.

After the incident, the court had without delay given its ruling by granting all 14 accused persons bail with N5 million each totaling N70 million, a condition the court said must be fulfilled before they would regain their freedom.

Those arraigned with Ibekwe included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom and Ekpendu Peace.

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

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