RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By


Powered by Blogger

Monday, March 28, 2011

Udoedehe’s popularity soars amid plans for trial in Uyo

•Senior lawyers condemn arraignment
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State Senator John Udoedehe is likely to be arraigned in Uyo this week over last week’s violence in the state.
Udoedehe was charged with treason at a Federal High Court in Abuja after accepting Inspector General of Police Hafiz Ringim’s invitation.
But senior lawyers have faulted Udoedehe’s arraignment as unsustainable. "They also argued that the candidate cannot be arraigned for treason when some people committed arson, adding that Udehedehe was not arrested at the scene of the crime.
Besides, they said it was wrong to arraign him in Abuja over an offence allegedly committed in Akwa Ibom.
Chief Niyi Akintola (SAN) said: "We are going to the court tomorrow (today)."
He said the court would determine the propriety of Udoedehe’s arrest.
The court on Friday turned down the oral application for bail by his lawyers and requested for a written submission today.
The ACN candidate’s campaign team came under severe attack in Ikot Ekpene.
Nine ACN supporters were shot dead. Scores were injured. The campaign was aborted.
The assailants claimed that apart from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), no other party is allowed to campaign in Annang land, with headquarters in Ikot Ekpene. Governor Godswill Akpabio, the PDP candidate, is Annang.
After the attack on the AC N team, there was arson in Uyo for which Udoedehe was arrested. The ACN said his detention and arraignment is politically-motivated and called for his release,
Following his arrest, Udoedehe’s popularity has soared, even as the ACN has raised the alarm over an alleged plan to arrest his running mate Chief Ime Umana and the ACN state chair, Chief Aniekan Akpan.
The plan to arraign Udoedehe in Uyo may suffer a setback as a result of the two-month-old strike by judiciary workers in the state, it was gathered. But the state government, according to sources, is negotiating with the workers to ensure their return. Sources said the state government is now ready to meet their demands, so that they could return to work and facilitate the arraignment of the ACN candidate. Akpan described this move as another "act of desperation by the drowning Akpabio government".
Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) said the charge cannot stand because, to him, the facts do not amount to treason.
He said the ingredients of the charge are not treasonable, as the accused did not do anything that could be said to be a threat to the Federal Government or the Goodluck Jonathan presidency.
"What are the ingredients upon which they concluded that he committed treason? Did he make any attempt to take over power from Jonathan? From what we have read on the facts, the charge cannot stand," he said.
The eminent lawyer added that Udoedehe ought to have been charged in Akwa Ibom - if indeed he committed any offence.
Fagbohungbe said with the development, politics in Nigeria is being taken to a "ridiculous point".
"How did the police arrive at the conclusion that he committed treason? Have they concluded investigation? How many people did they interrogate in so short a time?
"I think it is politically-motivated. They charged him with treason, which is not bail-able, in order to keep him in detention. I don’t think the development is good for Nigerian politics," he said.
Chief Emeka Ngige (SAN) said the charge against Udoedehe was purely politically motivated.
He said it was wrong to single out the accused for prosecution, as he could have been killed in the crisis.
Ngige said the riot escalated partly because Udoedehe’s supporters got false information that he had been killed.
According to him, it was, therefore, partisan on the part of the government to arraign him on a charge of treason when it was a clash between opposing political groups.
"It is wrong for the police to take sides in this type of dispute," he said.
Dr Joseph Nwobike (SAN) said Udoedehe’s arraignment is in bad taste. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan to order his immediate release.
He said: "It’s unfortunate that the ACN governorship candidate will be arrested and charged at this time when there is intense political electioneering.
"It is obvious that what happened was a battle between two political groups. So, why single out and arrest only the ACN candidate?
"It is settled law that it is where an alleged offence is committed that the accused will be charged and prosecuted. So, the entire scenario is suspect.
"President Jonathan must direct the immediate release of Udoedehe while the Inspector-General of Police should refrain from making hasty conclusions. He should, instead, conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.
"I think the ACN candidate’s arrest, charge of treason and detention in Abuja is in bad taste."--

No comments:

Post a Comment