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FREE-FOR-ALL IN COURT PREMISES OVER OGBUAWA

By NBF News
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It was a free-for-all at the premises of the Federal High Court in Awka yesterday involving the police, wardens, thugs, journalists and some family members of Nnewi business magnate, Chief Pius Ogbuawa.

The fight started when some journalists from Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) who were sent to cover proceedings for the day wanted to get video shots of Chief Ogbuawa who was standing trial with other suspects for allegedly kidnapping two Chinese nationals and a member of staff of Innoson Group of Companies based at Nnewi. But the media crew was blocked by the warders, some members of Ogbuawa's family and their supporters.

When the situation got to a head, a top official of ABS contacted the state Commissioner of Police who ordered that more policemen be drafted to the court to provide adequate security for the journalists since the three policemen on regular posting to the court were not enough to handle the problem at hand. But even the presence of ten additional policemen did not stop the warders and members of Ogbuawa family from obstructing the ABS crew from carrying out their official function until the police applied more force.

During the process, even a legal practitioner got so enraged that he punched one of the policemen.

When the warders and members of Ogbuawa saw that they could not contain the situation, they had no option than to relent, while Chief Ogbuawa resorted to covering his face in order to avoid being picked by video camera.

Meanwhile the Presiding Judge, Justice Olaniyi Wale has adjourned ruling on the application for bail filed by 11 out of the 20 suspects standing trial.. In their application for bail, their counsels, Mr. Eugene Agbasiowe and Mr. A.I. Mezeh argued that some of the suspects had been in detention for more than three years, and as such deserved .

Objecting to the application, the persecuting counsel said the matter for which they were standing trial was serious and could not be toyed with. Adjourning the case, the presiding judge, Justice Olaniyi Wale said he was concerned about justice and equity and therefore adjourned until November 4 for the ruling and continuation of the case.