COMMUNITY PETITIONS ORJI OVER MURDER CASE
The family of the late Ojukwu Udeogu of Okafia Igbere community has petitioned the Abia State Governor, Chief Theodore Orji against the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Umeh Kalu, over the latter's revocation of authority to prosecute a murder case.
On February 14, 2008, one Donatus Nnanna Ogba of 109B Ngwa Road, Aba, Abia State was allegedly murdered his landlord, Mr. Ojukwu Udeogu of the same address.
The accused was arrested on August 19, of the same year and arraigned by the state for murder. At the deceased family's instance, Uche Awa, a lawyer, on July 8, 2009 applied to the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice for fiat to prosecute the case and this was granted on July 21, 2009.
After the case had gone on for three years and judgment fixed for October 27, 2011, the Attorney-General on July 27 revoked the authority given Awa to prosecute the accused.
The community and the late Ojukwu's family are crying foul. In separate petitions they made to the Governor, they accused the Attorney-General of trying to protect a common criminal who murdered one of their own in public glare, due to maternal affinity and animosity Chief Umeh have against their lawyer over the principled stand of NBA, Aba branch (which their lawyer was the chairman) over state matters.
The petitions read in part, 'our clients were surprised when on July 29, 2011, Awah informed them that, the same Attorney-General who issued him with a fiat had without any reason revoked the it and ordered the return of the police case file to his office, thereby attempting to scuttle the prosecution of the case.
'On further inquiry, our client discovered that the reason for the revocation was not borne out of public or state interest as required by law, rather to protect a common criminal who committed murder and is related to Umeh Kalu (the Attorney General) maternally.
'If Mr. Kalu's action which has already started creating bad image for the state in the area of administration of justice is allowed to stand, it then means the state is in trouble as he would soon start to protect kidnappers and their like.'
The petitioners appealed to the governor to call his Attorney-General, who they accused of allowing his personal interest to influence his official conduct, to order and allow judgment to be delivered on October 27 as fixed by the court.