The Magistrate Court sitting in Owerri, today 19/06/2020 denied bail to Comrade Ambrose Nwaogwugwu, a journalist, and Director-General, Imo PDP New Media, in the charges filed against him by the government of Imo State on allegations that he defamed the person of Senator Hope Uzodinma.
Recall that the DSS arraigned Comrade Nwaogwugwu at the Magistrate Court, Owerri presided over by Mrs. B. U Adikibe, the Chief Magistrate, on 05/06/2020. After hearing arguments on the application for bail, the trial Magistrate adjourned the matter to June 19, 2020, more than two weeks against the normal practice for a Court of summary jurisdiction.
After reserving its ruling on application for bail made orally, the trial Magistrate refused the applicant bail even though it agreed that it had powers to grant him bail.
The only reason adduced by the Court in refusing bail after two weeks of adjournment was that the Court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain Count Six of the charge, which could exclusively be heard and determined by the Federal High Court. The summary of the case is that Magistrate B. U Adikibe held that she had the powers to grant bail, but was declining to exercise her discretion in favour of the applicant who has been in detention since 28/05/2020.
Speaking after the ruling, the Attorney General Imo State informed the Court that although Nwaogwugwu deserved bail, their interest was on “other persons” whom he felt were pumping him. It was clear from his statement therefore that Comrade Nwaogwugwu is being detained for reasons other than the merits of the offence for which he was allegedly brought before the Court.
We wish to make it clear that while the Attorney General of Imo State, Barrister C. O. C Akolisa filed a 7-Count charge against Ambrose Nwaogwugwu with one bothering on alleged act of terrorism, he has not deemed it necessary to file a valid charge in a Court of competent jurisdiction. The effect is that as at today, there is no valid charge against Comrade Nwaogwugwu in any Court.
On our part as a party, we expected that the trial Magistrate Court will not show courage to grant Comrade Nwaogwugwu bail when it adjourned a simple oral application which it could decide same day from the 5th May, 2020 to the 19th June, 2020. The PDP legal team on behalf of Comrade Ambrose Nwaogwugwu had acted well ahead in anticipation of the bail refusal today.
Consequently the attempt by the Imo State Attorney General to tie the continued detention of Comrade Ambrose Nwaogwugwu to the refusal of the State PDP leadership to beg him is a reckless blackmail which cannot be condoned. The Imo State PDP is the opinion that the burden of filing a valid charge in a competent Court lies squarely on on Barrister C. O. C Akolisa who alleges and such burden would remain on him until Ambrose Nwaogwugwu is released.
Comrade Ambrose Nwaogwugwu was detained on May 28, 2020 by the Department of State Security (DSS) after he answered an invitation served on him by their office on allegation of of defaming the person of Senator Hope Uzodinma by his posts on facebook.
Meanwhile, the PDP legal team has filed a formal application for bail at the High Court Owerri which is billed for Monday, June 22, 2020, just as the suit filed by Nwaogwugwu against the DSS for unlawful detention also comes up for hearing Monday June 22, 2020.
Ag. State Publicity Secretary
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