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S’African-Based Anambra Man Detained, Denied Bail for Allegedly Criticizing Emeka Offor’s Meter Manufacturing Company

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Activist and social commentator, Comrade Boniface Okonkwo, has expressed confidence in emerging victorious in his ongoing court trial.

Okonkwo had been in detention since January 3, 2024 after being arrested following a complaint by businessman, Sir Emeka Offor.

The South Africa-based social critic has taken the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, Emeka Offor and five others to court over alleged unlawful arrest and detention.

He demanded N50 million fine from the police as compensation for his unlawful detention.

He was reportedly arrested in his Oraifite community in Anambra State and clamped into detention by Police for allegedly criticizing on social media, a meter manufacturing company in Oraifite, said to be owned by Offor.

But rather than sue for defamation, Offor filed a complaint with the police.

He was arraigned at the Nnewi High Court on Wednesday on defamation, but was denied bail by Justice Vincent Agbata who adjourned the matter till Tuesday, February 6 for hearing.

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the court sitting, Okonkwo said he was not unruffled by the ruling and number of lawyers standing in for the complainant.

“I want to tell everyone that all is well. I’m strong and on a high spirit. I thank God for his grace and mercy. I want everyone to know that God is the greatest,” he said.

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Counsel to the defendant, Sebastian Okonkwo expressed disappointment at the court ruling, wondering why his bail application for the accused would be turned down.

He said, “In the first instance, I was unaware of my client being arraigned in court. I was only called few hours to prepare for the court sitting.

“Secondly, the charge brought against him was no longer on cyber crime as earlier stated, but on defamation under Anambra State Criminal Code.

“I applied for his bail, but the Counsel for the complainant opposed to the bail application on the grounds that it is a High Court and that application won’t be oral.

“The matter was adjourned to Tuesday next week for us to file motion for bail.

“But what surprised me was that after the whole arguments, I expected the court to grant him bail because the law is sacrosanct and clear on that.

“If it’s a misdemeanour, you grant the accused bail. And this is a pure case of misdemeanour, not a felony or capital offence.

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“Any judge would have granted him bail without delay. But the lawyers for the state came up with the argument that the accused, in his statement to the Police said he lives in South Africa for almost 14 years.

“According to the lawyers, they’re not sure he’ll remain in Nigeria and likely to run away if granted bail. Even when we told the court he has a surety which is the essence of bail until the matter is disposed.

“Again, for the fact that he lives in South Africa or any other part of the world is not a basis for his escape, unless there’s any other reason for the court to believe.

“Remember, the young man was arrested in the village, and there has not been any manifest act to show that he’ll jump bail if granted.

“This is very painful. But as a lawyer who believes in the rule of law, we’ll wait for the Judge to deliver his ruling on Tuesday so the young man will not continue being detained.”

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