Ozubulu Massacre: Case Stalled Over Witnesses’ Absence
By Nedum Noble
Hearing on the trial of four suspects accused of masterminding the August 6th massacre at St Philips Catholic Church, Ozubulu, was stalled at the the Nnewi High Court 3 following the absence of witnesses.
The Prosecuting Counsel, Mr. Gerald Ezeuko, had presented before Justice F.I. Aniukwu, the presiding Judge, two application letters addressed to the Chief Judge of the State requesting for security and protection of witnesses in the matter.
The letter also requested for a change of venue of the court to address the unwanton threat to lives of the witnesses, as well as attacks on their properties.
But Counsels to the first, second, third and fourth defendants, however, described the application as a legal gimmick by the prosecuting counsel to delay the matter.
On his part, Defence Counsel to first defendant, Mr. Festus Keyamo, regretted that the case was being delayed for the second time, canvassing for speedy dispensation of justice.
The case was adjourned to March, 22 and 23 by Justice Aniukwu, who insisted that hearing to the matter must continue pending a response to the applications made to the Chief Judge of the State which does not request for stay of proceedings.
Advising the Prosecution Counsel to appear in court in the next sitting with his witnesses, the Judge assured tight security within the court premises, just as he hinted the soon review of the actions of the parties involved in the matter.
No fewer than 100 widows had, on Wednesday, staged a peaceful protest at the State Headquarters of the State Police Command, requesting for more security presence at the troubled community over threat lives of witnesses in the matter.
The suspects, Great Chinedu Akpunonu, 44; Vincent Ike, 57; Chukwudi Ugwu, 30, and Onyebuchi Mbanefo, 46 were arraigned on a 24-count charge bordering on conspiracy and murder while others fingered for participating in the crime are still at large.
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