From Mba Nnenna- Abakaliki
A Federal High Court sitting in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital has ordered the State Police Command to release a former Chairman of Ikwo local government area in the state, Chief Moses Onyema Nwekoyo and Nwabueze Alegu held in detention for weeks over alleged Conspiracy/Forgery and Advance Fee Fraud.
The State Police Command, had on October 28, 2023 paraded Nwabueze Alegu and Moses Onyema Nwekoyo for allegedly defrauding one Emmanuel Ede Nnaji from Enugu State the sum of N54million.
The State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Onome Onovwakpoyeya told journalists that Nwabueze, his wife Chinyere and Nwekoyo committed Conspiracy/Forgery and Advance Fee Fraud by selling people’s land.
“This is a case of conspiracy/forgery of title document and advance fee fraud, reported through a written petition against the suspect, one Alegu Chinyere, Alegu Nwabueze and Moses Onyema.
“Forged title document were recovered from them, they defrauded Mr. Emmanuel Nnaji Ede of Enugu state the sum of fifty four million naira(N54,000.000), and twenty one million three hundred and ninety thousand naira (N21,390,000) was recovered from Alegu Nwabueze’s bank account”, she stated.
But Alegu and Nwekoyo denied any involvement in land fraud saying that they genuinely transacted land business with relevant documents and described allegations against them as untrue.
Since that 28 October, the duo have been in police custody prompting their Lawyer, Barr. Godfrey Chika Ogbuinya to approach a federal high court sitting in Abakaliki the state capital for enforcement of their fundamental human rights in a suit no FHC/AI/CS/197/2023.
The State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Augustina Ogbodo, SP Fabian Iloabanafor, Inspector Chukwudi Okpara the IPO on the matter, Emmanuel Ede Nnaji, Obinna Agu and Chief Celestine Okah are the defendants in the suit.
The court presided by Justice H. A. Nganjiwa in an ex parte order, ordered the police command to unconditionally release Chief Moses Onyema Nwekoyo and Nwabueze Alegu forthwith from detention facility pending the determination of the substantive suit.
“That an order is made that the Respondents grant the Applicants bail on such terms and conditions as they deem fit or charge him to the appropriate court with competent jurisdiction for whatever offence he has committed if any.
“That the matter is adjourned to 22nd of November, 2023 for hearing”, the ex parte order a copy of which was obtained by New Telegraph dated 16th November, 2023 stated.
Addressing journalists in Abakaliki, counsel to Chief Moses Onyema Nwekoyo and Nwabueze Alegu, accused the police command of disobeying the court order by not releasing the suspects or charging them to court.
He said “this is over a matter pending at the federal high court, Abakaliki wherein the Commissioner of Police in the state and O/C in charge of Monitoring and Surveillance arrested Onyema Nwekoyo and Nwabuze Alegu and kept them in detention facility for close to 50 days now as against their fundamental human right whereby the law says that in section 35 and section 36 that within 48 hours that a suspect arrested by the police should be charged to court.
“We have gone there for over and over, they collected N850,000 from Mrs. Chinyere Alegu the wife to Nwabueze, collected N1million from Onyema Nwekoyo as administrative bail and further rearrested him and have kept them in their detention facility for a period getting to 50 days now.
“On the 17th of this month, I went to court to enforce their rights and the court graciously granted an application and ordered for their unconditional release and up till date, the police has blatantly and neglected to release these people as against the court order.
“The court also said if the police refused to release them, they should produce them before the court on Wednesday and that is 22nd of this month.
“The CP and O/C monitoring and Surveillance are not above the law, they have to obey the law and order of the court and unconditionally release Moses Onyema Nwekoyo and Nwabueze Alegu”.
He threatened that if after Wednesday this week, the police command fail to release or produce the suspects, he will initiate a contempt proceeding against the police.
“Failure to do this, we are going to initiate a contempt proceeding against the police. If they are not hiding anything, why have they refused to charge these people to court?
On what the suspects are being detained for in the police, Ogbuinya said “what actually led to this unlawful arrest and detention was that Hon. Onyema Moses Nwekoyo was approached by his friend, one Emmanuel Ede the CEO of Elohim Aluminium company and requested that he should get him a land in Abakaliki here for him to extend the branch of his company here in Ebonyi State.
Hon. Nwekoyo got a land through an agent he contacted, enquiry on the land owner led to Mrs Chinyere Alegu. The contract was later sealed in presence of the owner Mrs Chinyere Alegu, her husband, Nwabueze, Onyema Nwekoyo and CEO of Elohim Aluminum (who is the buyer) and transaction successful.
Emmanuel Ede, the CEO of Elohim Aluminum commenced work on the land, but was attacked by Obinna Agu, elder brother to Chinyere Alegu.
A petition was written to DPO Central Police Station(CPS), Abakaliki, who later advised that they go home and settle as family members. But after the settlement, Obinna showed up again to disrupt work on the land.
Then, Emmanuel Ede the CEO of Elohim Aluminum now called the CP who incidentally is from the same village with him. The CP then transferred the case to O/C monitoring team who is also from the same village with the buyer. Thus began allegation of fraud and forgery.