There was mild drama, on Monday, at the premises of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Bwari, Abuja, as factional Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Edozie Njoku, was arrested by the Nigerian police.
The arrest followed a complaint by the prosecution lawyer, CSP Ezekiel Rinamsomte, that Njoku, prior to the commencement of the criminal case filed against him, had verbally threatened him as counsel in the matter.
He told Justice Mohammed Madugu shortly after the case was about to be adjourned.
He said the complaint had already been lodged at the Bwari Divisional Police Station.
“My lord, this morning when I came to the court, he (Njoku) saw me, waved his hand at me and said prosecutor how are you and we shook hands.
“I did not even recognise him because there is nothing personal between me and him.
“The next thing this man started telling me was that he was going to send calamity upon calamities upon my family; that members of my family will be dying and that he would deal with me.
“I asked him what have I done, he said he was a very dangerous man. He said he was the reason why Director, Litigation of Supreme Court, Mr Dikko, was removed and dismissed.
“That he was going to shake the Nigerian Police Force; that he was the reason why the daughter of (Onyechi) Ikpeazu, SAN, died; that he was going to deal with everybody in this case.
“And I said does it mean that this man is above the law or what is the problem,” the lawyer said.
Rinamsomte said he decided to inform the judge so that the court could take judicial notice of what transpired between him and Njoku earlier in the morning
Justice Madugu, who hinted that he had already closed proceeding on the suit, however asked Njoku, who was standing in the dock with his co-defendant, on what happened.
Responding, the APGA factional chairman admitted exchanging pleasantries with Rinamsomte earlier in the day.
But he denied the allegations that he threatened the prosecutor.
“My lord, I only said that anybody in this case, who lied against me to go to jail or send anyone to prison by telling lie, calamity will befall that person,” he said.
Njoku said he neither mentioned anything about late Ikpeazu’s daughter nor made any such comments attributed to him by the prosecutor.
The judge, then, jokingly said Rinamsomte should have avoided Njoku who he knew was standing trial.
“You should have greeted him from afar,” he said.
NAN reports that at the commencement of trial, the prosecutor sought to withdraw the amended charge filed against Njoku and his co-defendant, Chukwuemeka Nwoga.
And after it was not opposed by the defence counsel, Panam Ntui, Justice Madugu, granted the prayer, and the 1st prosecution witness, Godwin Odu, the Deputy National Secretary of APGA, gave his testimony.
The judge, consequently, adjourned the matter until April 27 for trial continuation after Ntui cross-examined the PW1.
Njoku, in an interview with newsmen shortly after the proceeding, said Rinamsomte’s allegations against him was baseless.
“The prosecutor made a terrible claim against me and he has already brought policemen to arrest me. That is their Option B.
“That I said I killed Onyechi Ikpeazu’s daughter; that I said he will die, that I said I am a very dangerous man; that he has gone and brought the police to arrest me and face charges,” he said.
He said “it looks as if their initial case against him is dead” and they were looking for another way to delay justice.
NAN reports that Njoku was later released at the police station after Rinamsomte withdrew the case.
Njoku and Nwoga were, on Nov. 28, 2022, arraigned on a 14-count criminal charge bordering on forgery, an offence which attracts imprisonment of maximum of 14 years jail term if found guilty.
The Inspector General (I-G) of Police had accused them of forging a Supreme Court judgment and the letter-head paper of retired Justice Mary Peter-Odili.
In the charge marked: CR/12/2022 and dated October 21, the defendants were accused of conspiring with others to forge a judgment of the Supreme Court.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the entire 14-count charge.
They were remanded at Suleja Correctional Centre and granted bail on Nov. 30, 2022.(NAN)