From Nweke Nweke, Awka
The families of the two students of Madonna University, Akpugo Campus, Nkanu in Enugu State resorted to public protest within the premises of Agbani Magistrate Court, presided over by Nkemjika Anibueze immediately the bail granted the Dean, Student Affairs and the Chief Security Officer, Rev. Fr. Isaac Jinga and Ogbonna Okey respectively by the Magistrate Court was announced.
The duos in the alleged crime are said to have conspired to commit felony to wit by causing grievous bodily harm to their students, one Stanly Ifeanyi Okoye and Mr. Galim Aondotalord (all in their final year) but the family of the students that lost their spinal cords in the hands of the Universality staff presently standing trials said they are suspecting that ‘Ghana Must Go bag’ might have gone underground work before Magistrate Court was moved to granted bail to the accused.
It would be recalled that the accused persons were remanded in prison custody on July 14, 2015, when the case first came before the Magistrate Court, presided over by Nkemjika Anibueze in Charge No MEN/87C/2015 as they were charged for felony and conspiracy to wit against two final-year students of the University.
Demonstrating that the Magistrate lacked jurisdiction to try the case, Nkemjika Anibueze made order that the accused be remanded in prison, the case file, exhibits be transferred to Department for Public Prosecution, while she banded over all the witnesses. But to the chagrin of the students who are in agony courtesy of the accused ill minded staff of Madonna University, the same Magistrate turned back to possibly satisfy what she suspected to have swallowed in secret.
On the day they were arraigned, the charges were read to them thus: “That you, Rev. Fr. Isaac Jinga ‘m’, Ogbonna Okey ‘m’ and others at large on the same date and place in the aforementioned Magisterial District, did with intent plan, disfigure or disable, cause grievous bodily harm to one Stanly Ifeanyi Okoye, by hitting him with Iron Rod at his neck and all over the body which caused injury in his spinal cord and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 288(a) of the Criminal Code Cap 30 Vol. 11 Laws of Enugu State, 2004”.
The accused persons after hearing the charge read to their understanding pleaded not guilty. The presiding Magistrate, Nkemjika Anibueze then asked the defence counsel to the accused persons and the Prosecutor to address the Court on the issue of jurisdiction and secondly on whether the Court has the power to entertain the charge after which the Magistrate ordered that the accused be remanded in the prison custody and adjoined the matter till July 21, 2015.
When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, the defence counsel, Chief Tony Muogbo, SAN represented by a senior Counsel from his chamber, Barr (Mrs.) B.C Okoye told the Court that the accused persons were granted bail on Thursday July 16, 2015 by the Hon. Justice Anidi of Agbani High Court after they have satisfied all the bail condition.
She said; “on July 16, 2015, consequent upon application made by the accused persons at the Agbani High Court where the alleged offence was committed, the accused persons were granted bail. The bail is in respect of the charge before this Court as the charge exhibited in Exhibit B”. She further told the Court that because the application was granted. The defence Counsel, Mrs. B.C Okoye also told the Court “On Thursday July 16, I want the honourable court to take judiciary notice that Friday the 17th July and Monday, 26t0the was a public holidays in Nigeria, and because of the above reasons, we were unable to get the order of the Agbani High Court.
“The 21st day of July, 2015, being the next working day, we applied for the order, paid necessary fees to the Registrar of the High Court, but we could not get the court process as the Honourable Court that had the Court order presided over by Anidi was yet to resume sitting as at the time I went to the court to collect it”.
Mrs. Okoye tendered certified true copy allegedly made by the Registrar of the court confirming the bail condition granted the accused persons by the court, pending the opinion of the Attorney General of the State.
The Prosecutor, on addressing the Court, named the witnesses as Mr. Stanly Okoye Ifeanyi – student, Mr. Galim Aondotalord – student, Inspector Christopher, Inspector Attinesus Nwosu – State CID Enugu and Sgt. Francis Onoga Police Officer – State CID, Corporal Ochi Ambrose – Agbani Police Station and Dr. Ohia of Enugu State Teaching Hospital, ESUT.
The presiding Magistrate admitted the files as Exhibit A, A2, A3, A4, and E and enclosed them in a fat envelop, stating that; “the matter has been adjoined sine-die, the case files are hereby enclosed in an envelope for onward transfer to the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for his opinion”. She added.
Reacting to the ruling, the Counsel to the plaintiff, Bar. Fedelis Mbadugha, described the entire process as an abuse of Court process.
He said that the Agbani High Court ought not to have granted the accused bail because the matter is still pending at the Magistrate Court and the case file(s) is(are) not before the High Court, while the Magistrate Court is yet to give ruling on the charges before it.
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