Posted by News Express | 16 December 2015 | 2,413 times
The legal fireworks instituted by Uche Nwosu, Chief of Staff to the Governor of Imo State, against Community Watchdog Newspapers commenced last Monday December 14, 2015 at a Magistrate Court, Owerri, Judicial Division, presided over by Magistrate Njemanze.
Comrade Precious Nwadike, who is also the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of the newspapers had arrived the Police Headquarters as a law abiding citizen, specifically to honour an invitation following his arrest and detention Thursday December 10, only, to be conscripted to the premises of the Owerri High Court, even though the Police had earlier told him they were heading to the corporate office of the Community Watchdog at 49 Zander Street, Owerri, to conduct a search.
According to a Government House source, their ploy was to use the court presiding judge or magistrate to detain or remand Nwadike in prison custody, to enable the claimant, Uche Nwosu and others, to perfect their evil intentions. But, as God will have it, the magistrates were quite professional in handling the case, or not even favourably disposed to appear for any hearing on the spur of the moment. The matter was later heard at Magistrate court 9.
By the time the case commenced at about noon on Monday, the legal team of Community Watchdog was led by Ngozi Olehi, Governorship candidate of Labour Party in the April 2015 gubernatorial election in Imo State, D C Ndiokwere, Obinna Nwachukwu and Ephraim Okafor who were handy with their defence to forestall any sinister moves by Nwosu's team.
The prosecuting witness had introduced the case as that of the Commissioner of Police against the Publisher of Community Watchdog Newspapers, Comrade Nwadike, contrary to the widely circulated writ of summons in which the plaintiff, Uche Nwosu, is claiming N200 million against Community Watchdog as damages for “alleging that his foreign cook, one Henry, had fled with billions of naira, which were alleged to be part of the bail-out funds placed in his care as chairman of the three-man disbursement committee comprising other members, such as Dr Paschal Obi, Principal Secretary to the Governor and Accountant-General of Imo State. Having presented the matter, the public prosecutor, Mr Onwuchekwa, who claimed to be ready for the epic trial, opposed the oral application for bail as appropriately and lawfully canvassed for by his lawyer, Olehi.
However, when Mr. Onwnuchekwa of Owerri Ministry of Justice failed to convince the Magistrate on why the Publisher of Community Watchdog should not be granted bail since he never jumped bail between Friday December 11, 2015 after his release from detention and Monday December 14, 2015, when he walked briskly into the State Police Headquarters to honour the invitation, he chided the public prosecutor, Mr. Onwuchekwa for believing that “not granting Nwadike bail will stop Community Watchdog from further publications” or existence and on that note, he discarded the no-bail plea from Onwuchekwa.
D C Ndiokwere, who argued from point of law, stated that there was no reason for refusing or objecting to the application of bail by the respondent except, perhaps, the public prosecutor and Mr Nwosu wish to reintroduce Decree 4, of 1984 from the back yard.
He explained that Comrade Nwadike is entitled to his fundamental human rights to existence, expression, freedom and association. These, he said, must be enforced in the circumstance, while the ‘claimants’ have the onerous responsibility of faulting the various allegations that, indeed, Mr Nwosu’s cook, Henry, who hails from the Republic of Benin, had disappeared with the billions of naira, allegedly part of the bail-out funds; which were kept in a vault inside Nwosu’s house. However, many have argued that the accommodation may not have the kind of space that can contain as much as N10 billion, having witnessed how it was broken into or forced open at Nwosu’s Akanchawa Udenwa Mansion.
The epic legal battle is the climax of the series of publications, allegations and denials on the run-away cook, whose disappearance resulted in the arrest and detention of about nine persons as suspects. The detainees, some of who were in police cell for about four weeks without charge in court, include a police officer, Gift Udenwoke of New Owerri Police Division, who admitted seeing the cook leave the premises with his luggage, but was never instructed to stop or search such baggage, and Ibrahim from Adamawa, who was even in far away Adamawa when the cook allegedly eloped with the billions.
•Photo shows Community Watchdog Publisher, Comrade Precious Nwadike.
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