Absence of case file stalls ex-Imo deputy gov’s arraignment
The arraignment of the immediate past deputy governor of Imo State, Gerald Irona, before the Owerri High Court was on Tuesday stalled due to the absence of the case file. Irona who was Thursday remanded in Owerri prison custody by a Magistrate in Owerri, C.N Ezerioha, was billed to be arraigned before Justice S. I. Opara of Owerri High Court on Tuesday, but the proposed arraignment could not take place.
Our correspondent gathered that Irona’s arraignment could not go on because the matter was not listed in the court’s registry for the day. Irona’s team of lawyers who appeared in court went home disappointed after they were informed that the arraignment could not go on because the case file had not been brought to the court.
The Legal Adviser of the People’s Democratic Party in the state, Kissinger Ikeokwu, who appeared in court for Irona disclosed that the ex-deputy governor would now be arraigned on Wednesday. Ikeokwu said, “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 would no longer take place today.
“The matter was not enlisted in court for the day. The case file has not been brought to court. He will now be arraigned on Wednesday.”
The police in the state had on Thursday arraigned irona at the owerri Magistrate’s court on three counts bothering on treason, confiscation of the state government property and making statements to overthrow the governor of the state. After listening to an application to grant Irona bail and a counter-bail application, the magistrate declined the bail request and ordered that Irona be reminded in Owerri prison custody.
The three counts read, “That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did conspire with others now at large, to commit felony to wit: treason and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(2) of the criminal code, cap c 38, 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 immediately afterwards hoodlums levied several attacks on Imo State with the intent to intimidate or overawe the governor of Imo State and thereby committed an offence 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, did convert to your own use two Land Cruiser jeep (V8 and v6) and one Toyota Hilux valued four hundred and Ninety-three million naira, property of Imo State Government, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code, cap c 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”