Rivers crisis: Supporters, police fight in court over re-arrest of PDP chief


There was tension at the premises of the Magistrate Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Wednesday as supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman of Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State, Charles Amoefule, a perceived loyalist of Governor Rotimi Amaechi, resisted his re-arrest by the police, shortly after the court discharged him.
The embattled Chairman was charged for sedition, alongside Godwin Onwukwe and Leo Anyanwu (now at large) before Chief Magistrate Anthony Ogboi Enahoro, and has been detained in Kuje prison since July.
However tension erupted in the court premises when the Chief Magistrate granted an oral application by Police Prosecution Usman Jibrin, who asked the court to terminate the charge levelled against the accused persons.
Wednesday’s matter was for both parties to argue on the pending bail application of the PDP Chairman dated August 7, which was filed by his lawyer, Regina Okotie Eboh.
However, the case assumed another dimension when the police prosecutor told the court that he has a similar case in a sister court in Wuse Zone 6 and would want to join Charles Amoefule in the suit.
But, the presiding magistrate had reminded the prosecutor that there were two options before him, which are to argue the bail application or terminate the case to which he asked the court to terminate the case.
Chief Magistrate Enahoro left with no option, discharged the accused person.
But the tension started when the police insisted that the PDP chairman must be re-arrested because, according to them, for further investigation, as they have facts that has committed some grievous offences.
In the process of refusing to be re-arrested, Amoefule’s supporters, who thronged the court premises, were pitched against security men, thereby turning the court compound into chaos.
The ensuing pandemonium, which engulfed the court premises got out of hand and the defence counsel, Regina Okotie-Eboh, was almost lynched, but for the intervention of Magistrate Ann Akobi, who was presiding over another matter in a different court room.
The uproar forced the Magistrate to arraign the defence counsel, the prosecution and others for public disturbance and interruption of proceedings of her sitting.
However, after listening to both parties on what led to the commotion, Magistrate Akobi pardoned the culprits and warned them not to fight again, threatening to send them to prison contempt of court if they continued with the crisis.
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