A'IBOM MAYHEM: MY TRIAL POLITICALLY MOTIVATED -AKPANUDOEDEHE
The embattled Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Senator James Akpanudoedehe eyesterday told a Federal High Court that his arrest and subsequent trial on thrum up charges of treason is politically motivated to frustrate his political ambition. Justice Adamu Bello has ordered that he be remanded in Police custody to await ruling on his bail application fixed for March 31, 2011.
The former minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) was last Friday arraigned by the Police over last week's clash between supporters of his party and that of the Peoples Democratic (PDP) in the state where scores of lives and property worth millions of naira were lost.
Moving his bail application with his team of lawyers, led by Kola Awodein (SAN), Akpanudoedeh told the court that his arrest in Akwa Ibom State as well as his quick arraignment in Abuja by the PDP-led government was politically motivated and designed to keep him away from the eminent governorship election in the state.
Awodein urged the court to grant Akpanudoedehe bail pending the hearing and determination of the charge slammed against him by the police, pointing out that the defence had placed enough materials before the court to consider the application for bail in favour of the accused person.
He argued further that the accused person be admitted to bail by the court based on his antecedent as two-time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, former FCT minister, former Uyo Local Government Area Chairman and presently, the ACN governorship candidate for Akwa Ibom.
The lead defence counsel told the court that there was an earlier phantom murder allegation in which the police searched the residence of the accused person at Uyo and in Abuja and found nothing implicating, adding that: 'The applicant was compelled to approach a court of competent jurisdiction when he was being harassed to create an enabling political environment to carry out his campaign like every other candidate in the state and the court made an order restraining the police from interrupting his campaign.'
Besides, he said Akpanudoedehe had an ailment that required frequent medical attention , a position he said was not countered, adding also that the prosecution's submission that they were still investigating the matter showed that they were yet to establish a prima facie against the accused.
Prosecution counsel, R. E Nkem prayed the court to deny the accused person bail in view of the nature of the offence and the severity of the punishment if found guilty.
The Police accused Akpanudoedehe of levying war against the state with intent to cause such levying of war as would intimidate the Governor of the State. Akpanudoedeh, however, pleaded not guilty to the four count charge slammed against him by the police.