Nigeria’s AGF, Malami, Moves To Twist Land Grabbing Case In Favour Of Ned Nwoko

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in abusing the power of his office, has stepped into the case involving Nigerian billionaire and former senator, Ned Nwoko, and some residents of Idumuje-Ugboko in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State for opposing his attempt to forcefully acquire additional 90 hectares of land from an area earmarked for all indigenes of the community.

The former senator sought the intervention of the Justice Minister to twist the case in his favour.

Residents of Idumuje Ugboko community are accusing Nwoko of using the police and Ministry of Justice to dubiously harass, intimidate and lock up elders and sons of the town.

In the case with charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/11/19 currently before a Federal High Court, Abuja, some community residents were dragged to court and charged for murder.

Cheta Okolo and Onyeisi Isuzor, who Nwoko saw as a barrier to his illegal ownership of the land, are both standing trial for terrorism and murder at the Abuja court.

The defendants wrote the court to transfer the case to Asaba being the appropriate and convenient jurisdiction for the trial of the case in line with Sections 93(1), 98(1) and 386(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

However, interfering in the matter after being approached by Nwoko, Malami wrote an official letter to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, directing him not to transfer the case from Abuja.

See Also CRIME How Ned Nwoko Humiliated Monarch, Asked Police To Dig Up Palace

Malami claimed that continuing the trial in Abuja would guarantee the safety of the lives of the prosecution witness and others involved in the case.

He said, “May I respectfully bring to the attention of Your Lordship that the decision to prosecute the matter in Abuja borders strictly on security and safety of lives of all the parties involved especially the prosecution witnesses who are mostly inhabitants of the said community in the light of the nature of the offence and the status of the defendants in the case.

“My Lord may wish to also note that the matter is already ongoing before the Abuja Division of the court without any hitches before the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice sudden transfer on account of a petition by the counsel who is not a party in the case on record. This development has no doubt brought a set back to the wheel of progress in this case.”

On July 7, 2020, the Nathaniel Bama, who Nwoko said was attacked by the duo, swore to an affidavit that they did not commit any crime against him.

The DPP on August 4, 2020, advised that there was no prima facie case against Cheta and Onyeisi, and recommended their release from custody.

It was further learnt that on the DPP's advice, the magistrate court on August 5, 2020 struck out the charges against Cheta and Onyeisi and ordered their release.

Instead of releasing them, SaharaReporters gathered that the duo were transferred to the Force Criminal Investigative Department in Abuja on the orders of Nwoko where they have been in custody for weeks.

Having gotten wind that the DPP had again advised that there was no prima facie case against them, the former lawmaker quickly got officials of Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, to file a charge of terrorism and murder against Cheta and Onyeisi at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

SaharaReporters recall that residents of Idumuje Ugboko had earlier accused Nwoko of using police and Ministry of Justice officials to dubiously harass, intimidate and lock up elders and sons of the town.

“He imports police from Abuja to ambush and arrest the men who oppose him, then transfer them to Abuja and have them locked up indefinitely without due process. Many of them were held in Kuje Prison on trumped up charges of terrorism and murder for months, while others were unjustly locked up for upward of two years in Agbor Prison, Delta State.

“It is imperative to place on record that the Nigeria Police Force has become a willing tool in Ned's malevolent schemes to totally annihilate any opposition in his inordinate quest to forcefully dispossess the ordinary people of Idumuje Ugboko of the ancestrally bequeathed possession,” the residents said in a petition signed by Jerry Isichel and Daniel Osakwe and submitted to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State.

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