Information available to 247ureports.com indicates a cantankerous fete holds Ebonyi state hostage. This is as six kidnap suspects [Monday Okarie, Friday Nnamonu, Igabor Eze, Monday Ani, Emmanuel Saviour and Saviour Boniface] remanded by the Magistrate Court in Abakaliki on the 10th of December, 2010 for the kidnap Gov Elechi’s political rival’s mother-in-law [Mrs. Mary Nwinya]were mysteriously released by the Chief Judge. Sources believe the Governor of Ebonyi State ordered the release.
As a caveat, the six suspects were charged under no MAB/586C/2010 with kidnap and conspiracy and were remanded in the prison custody December 10, 2010. They were arrested by the Special Anti Robbery Squad, SARS, Enugu state in connection to the kidnap of the mother in-law to the All Nigerian Peoples Party [ANPP] Governorship candidate in Ebonyi state in the last general elections, Senator Julius Ucha.
The victim, a 65 year old woman, Mrs. Mary Nwinya was on the 24th October 2010 kidnapped by the suspects at her home town in Umuhali, Ishielu council area of Ebonyi state just a day after her son-in-law declared ambition for governorship race.
It was gathered that as Senator Ucha completed consultations with stakeholders and informed them of his interest to contest in the Ebonyi state gubernatorial elections of 2011 – he immediately received information that his mother in law had been kidnapped the next day.
The suspects after several days refused to establish contact with the family of the victim on the issue of ransom which heightened the fear that the victim must have been kidnapped by some political enemies of her son in law.
However after several attempts by the police in Ebonyi state to rescue the victim and arrest the suspects failed, Senator Ucha went to SARS office in Enugu where he made entry over the kidnap of his mother in law and they swung into action and arrested the six suspects.
Meanwhile, when the suspects were arraigned in Abakaliki Magistrate court on 10th December, 2010 after reading out their count charge, the court remanded them in prison custody on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction over the matter.
The two count charge reads “that you Friday Nnamonu m’, Monday Okarie m, Igabor Eze, m Monday Ani m Emmanuel Saviour m and Saviour Boniface m on the 24th day of October, 2010 at Umuhali Ishielu village in Abakaliki Chief Magisterial District did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: kidnapping and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 515A (1) of the criminal code Act, Cap C38, Vol.4, laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Ebonyi state”
“That you Friday Nnamonu ‘m’, Monday Okarie m, Igabor Eze, ‘m’ Monday Ani ‘m’ Emmanuel Saviour ‘m’ and Saviour Boniface ‘m’ and others now at large on the 24th October, 2010 at Umuhali Ishielu village in Abakaliki Chief Magisterial District did unlawfully kidnap and detained one Mary Nwainya aged 65 years without her consent, imprison her in a such a manner as to prevent her from applying to a court for her release”
However, it was gathered that after the suspects were remanded, the case was billed to commence owing to the state law prohibiting kidnapping and hostage taking which the state Governor signed and is punishable by death, but to the chagrin of many, the suspects were hurriedly discharged and acquitted by the state Chief Judge, Justice Alloy Nwankwo.
In Law N0.007 of 2009 Ebonyi State Internal Security Enforcement and Related Matters Law, 2009, page 5 section (1) A which said kidnap, abduct or unlawfully detain another person, or prevent another person from applying to court for his release or from disclosing to any other person the place where he is held is hostage”
Governor Martin Elechi shortly after the kidnap of his brother in law, Senator Chris Nwankwo in a state broadcast appended his signature to the law prohibiting kidnapping and hostage taking where he said that any person convicted for kidnapping must die.
According to him “we shall not continue to condone the act of criminality, any person that kidnaps or abducts another person, whenever he is arrested and charged tried accordingly, I will be glad to sign his death warrant”
But the release of the six persons standing trial for the kidnap of the mother in law to his closet rival in the last governorship election in the state, Senator Julius Ucha has attracted so many comments and condemnation even as many allege rape of justice.
It was also reported that the state Chief Judge, Justice Alloy Nwankwo during his routine jail delivery hurriedly discharged and acquitted the six suspects even as they have remained in the court without proper trials and were said to have been fed like kings.
Speaking on the development, a lawyer Barrister Ikem Igu described the recent jail delivery by the state Chief Judge as judicial rascality and an abuse of criminal proceedings. “As far as I am concerned, the jail delivery was an abysmal abuse of criminal proceedings because the Chief Judge should have looked into the magnitude of these people’s offence before setting them free”
“those people were standing trials for kidnapping for crying out loud, why should a Chief Judge discharge such people, there are so many other people who are in the prison for one flimsy excuses or the other, the Chief Judge should have gone through their files before discharging them” he said.
When asked if the jail delivery was politically motivated to get the suspects off the hook, Barrister Igu said “I don’t want to go into that area but all I am saying is that the jail delivery was ill timed and very ill motivated. For any reason why Chief Judge discharged them, I don’t know but for me, it was a very bad exercise considering the security of the state”
Also in his own reaction, Senator Ucha lamented what he called high level of judicial impunity in the state, adding that the hasty release of the suspects who kidnapped his mother in law portends danger to the safety of the people of the state and that of his mother in law in particular.
According to Senator Ucha “the level of judicial impunity in the state is very high and I want to use this opportunity to call on the Inspector General of Police to order the re-arrest of the suspects and commit them to trial because if such people are allowed to be moving freely in the streets, the security challenges we are currently facing will be worse”
All attempts by our reporter to get the reaction of the Ebonyi state Chief Judge, Justice Alloy Nwankwo proved abortive as he refused to answer his calls and numerous text messages were not replied while a top aide in his office who pleaded anonymity said that it was the constitutional duty of the Chief Judge and did not need to consult anybody.
“what the CJ did was in exercise of his constitutional duty as the Chief Law officer in the state and does not owe anybody any apology because everything he has done were within the ambit of the law and moreover, the six persons that you press are reporting were not just discharged, the trials continue, so I don’t understand your interests in this case. It has nothing to do with the political rivalry between Governor Elechi and Senator Ucha or between PDP and ANPP” he said.
Astonishing, that is the right way of describing this fua pax! Our nation’s judiciary like other departments is corrupt and firmly under the grips of the Executive. Sometimes I wonder if we are actually capable of running our own affairs. We have no regard for the truth and our laws. Enforcement of the laws is bases on the whims and caprices of our corrupt Executives and in most cases the corrupt and powerful in the society.
Actions like those stated in the article above will eventually lead to people taking the laws into their own hands. It is an invitation to anarchy!