•AG effecting due diligence, not stalling –AG’s office
Kinsmen of one Iheanacho Okorie who was murdered in 2018 under very questionable circumstances at Obudi Agwa in Oguta council area of Imo state, whose remains are yet to be buried due to litigations, are pointing to the Attorney-General of Imo state, Mr. Cyprian Akolisa as allegedly stalling prosecution and encumbering the process of justice.
Okorie who had reportedly been undergoing rehabilitation was allegedly set up, waylaid and butchered in cold blood on the 14th of December, 2018 at the Ogbor Afor Agwa market. He died the next day.
This is also as the office of the Attorney-General has dismissed the allegation saying the Chief Law Officer of the state was only effecting due diligence, ensuring compliance with laid down tenets and is by no means stalling the process of justice.
However, in a letter written to the Imo State Attorney General, Mr. Cyprian Akaolisa by S. B. Chikwe Esq., the solicitor for Grace Okorie and Tina Ihueze (Nee Okorie), he noted that as the complainant, they had made every effort and taken all necessary steps to get the matter to court through the police to the Magistrate court at Oguta where the file was referred to by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
Chikwe noted that upon proper vetting, the DPP proceeded to file his recommendation for prosecution against Nneji Onumajuru, Obioma Abua, Ezeugo Caplice Okorie and the traditional ruler of the deceased, Eze Ignatius Asor as suspects in the murder of Iheanacho Okorie.
The letter read in part: “It is sad to say the least that the subject suit has on two different occasions been enlisted for arraignment before the Vacation Court sitting at Orlu High Court Complex, before Hon. Justice Lewanya by the DPP on the 17th of August 2020 and 10th of September 2020. “On the last adjourned date, the 10th of September, the State prosecutor informed the court that the Attorney General has called and withdrawn the file to be kept in his custody, thereby truncating the taking of plea in the murder charge.
This goes without a doubt to corroborate the grapevine information reaching us that Eze Ig-natius Asor has been boasting with the name, person and office of the Attorney General in the community and declaring that the subject suit will not see the light of day.” While pondering the reason for the unavailability of the case file in court, the solicitor urged the Attorney General to be more empathic noting that the deceased person who is yet to be buried almost two years now, is somebody’s son, brother, husband and father.
When our correspondent contacted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) following complaints by kinsmen of the deceased, the officer of the commission listed in one of the petitions, Mr. Ohams Chinedu confirmed to this newspaper that the Commission was handling the matter and that it was still under investigation.
When prodded further on the unavailability of the casefile in court, he informed that when the issue was raised with the Attorney-General, he reassured that he will release the casefile for the court hearing. He added that the Attorney-General had also hinted to removing the name of the Monarch from the suit on account that necessary procedures were not complied with by the DPP who vetted and recommended the monarch for prosecution
Findings by our correspondent indicate that on the last adjourned date of the case which was 3rd of November, 2020, the case file for the murder case was still not released to the court.
Slightly over a month before he died, a community leader and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (FCIB) of Nigeria, Mr. Agabus Ifeanyi Anumudu, in the same vein petitioned the National Human Rights Commission on September 21st, 2020 warning of plot to subvert justice.
He stated that the monarch, Eze Ignatius Asor was charged to court alongside other suspects based on the recommendation of the DPP and added: “The traditional ruler has sent several delegations to the Attorney-General leading to the Chief Law Officer of Imo state withholding the casefile and refusing to make it available at the last court sitting” The current concern of the kinsmen of the deceased is the notion that if the case file is not made available in court for a certain number of sittings, it may be construed