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ATTEMPTED MURDER: ROCHAS' AIDE, 18 OTHERS ARRAIGNED IN OWERRI

By NBF News
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The Chief of Staff to the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) Imo State candidate for the April 26 governorship polls, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Prince Eze Madumere and 18 others were yesterday brought before an Owerri Chief Magistrate Court on a five-count charge of attempted murder, conspiracy, and illegal assembly.

Others charged along with Madumere include, a 13-year-old boy, Precious Efurueze, Magnus Ariguzo, Ikechukwu Uzo, Innocent Chukwudi and Franklin Nwobodo.

According to the charge No.OW/129/C/2011, the suspects were accused of attempting unlawfully to kill the state governor, Chief Ikedi Ohakim thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 32 (1) of the criminal code cap C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004 as applicable to Imo State.

They were accused of mobilising and illegally assembling thugs on Thursday, March 31, with the aim of disrupting the final campaign rally of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state causing a breakdown of law and order, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Cap C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable to the state.

According to the charge preferred against them, the suspects were also accused of throwing satchet water, stones, sticks and other dangerous weapons at the convoy of Governor Ohakim and the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, committing an offence punishable under Section 13 (a) of the Electoral Act NO 64,2010 as amended.

Arguing for bail application, a defence counsel, Mr. Lawrence Nwakaeti cited Section 118 (2) of criminal procedure urging the court to apply its jurisdiction to grant bail to the suspects.

He argued that the court had the jurisdiction to grant bail to the accused even though it had no power to entertain the matter (case).

Other lawyers that argued in favour of bail include Mr. M.O.Igwe, Mr. G.O.N. Okemiri and Nwabueze Nwankwo.

Opposing the bail application, the prosecuting counsel, C.L. Iheugwumere said the suspects may likely jump bail if the application for bail was granted.

The presiding magistrate, Mrs Victoria Isiguzo said the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case and adjorned ruling on the bail application till April 13,. She ordered that the suspects should be reminded in the prison custody until 13th April. She also ordered that their case files be referred to the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for further advice.

Daily Sun reports that the suspects were allegedly arrested on Friday, April 1 at the party's campaign office along Okigwe Road, Owerri while Prince Madumere, Rochas Okorocha's COS was picked at the Lemonde Hotel about 2:45 Am on the same day by a combined team of the Police, Army, customs and other security agencies.