Nonsochukwu Uwa, Owerri
The former Deputy Governor of Imo State, Gerald Irona, who was remanded in Owerri correctional center, last Thursday, could not appear in Owerri high court on Tuesday, because his matter was not enlisted.
The Imo State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Legal Adviser, Kissinger Ikeokwo, made this known to newsmen in Owerri.
Irona will now be arraigned on Wednesday (March 15, 2022).
According to Ikeokwo, “The arraignment will now take place on Wednesday. We hurriedly filed on Friday and when we got to the court on Tuesday we discovered that the arraignment will no longer take place today. The matter was not enlisted in court for the day. The case file has not been brought to the court. He will now be arraigned on Wednesday.”
It would be recalled that the Imo State police command charged Irona to court on three-count-charge which bordered on alleged felony, illegal possession of government properties, and alleged utterances to make Imo State ungovernable.
According to the three-count-charge: “That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, conspired with others now at large, to commit felony to wit: treason, and thereby committed offenses punishable under section 37(2) of the criminal code, cap c 38the, law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did make several utterances to the effect that you will make Imo State ungovernable and immediate afterward hoodlums levied several attacks on Imo State with the intent to intimidate or overwhelmed the governor of Imo State and thereby committed an offense punishable under section 37 of the criminal code, cap, c 38, law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona on the 15th day of January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, do convert to your use two land cruiser jeeps ( V8 and v6) and one Toyota Hilux vehicles valued four hundred and Ninety-three million naira property of Imo state government thereby committed an offense punishable under section 390 ( 9) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo state.”
Reacting, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement issued to newsmen in Owerri, through the State Publicity Secretary, Collins Opurozor, has alleged that judges have been intimidated in Imo State by the state government.
According to the PDP, “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State condemns in the strongest terms the continued persecution of the former Deputy Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, by the APC-led administration of Senator Hope Uzodinma.
“At the early hours of yesterday, March 8, 2023, security operatives working for the Imo State Government invaded the Owerri residence of the former Deputy Governor and terrorized everyone they could see. When the former Deputy Governor went to the State Police Command to find out what the reasons for the invasion and belligerence at his residence were, he was detained by the police on trumped-up charges cobbled together by the regime of Senator Uzodinma.
“Even when the police had granted Rt. Hon. Irona administrative bail and all the necessary conditions in the bail bond fulfilled, the regime of Senator Uzodinma still chose to keep him in police custody simply with the intention of getting a willing magistrate that would do the dirty job of committing the former Deputy Governor to prison.”
“We have it on good authority that two upright magistrates had defied every pressure from Imo State Government to lend their courts for such barefaced political vendetta.
“Imo PDP, therefore, condemns the intimidation of magistrates and manipulation of the judiciary the State by the government of Senator Uzodinma for the purpose of fighting perceived political foes and suppressing political dissent.”