20 February 2013

Nigeria: Absence of Lawyers Stall Kidnap Case in Owerri

Owerri — Trial of five persons accused of kidnapping Late Emmanuel Uchenna Alaribe was Tuesday stalled, following the non-representation of four of the accused by lawyers.

While Mr. Chidiebere Anyaoha, a Principal State Counsel, PSC, and Mr. C. T. Emegwara announced their appearance for the State and fifth accused person respectively, all the other accused persons had no legal representation when the case was called up.

The five accused persons, who were arraigned in suit number HOW/121C/2012, include Daniel Joseph Aturu, Henry Deberechi Nnaeke, Sunny Okere, Sunday Ogar and Acho Alaribe.

The presiding Judge, Justice Florence Duruoha-Igwe, said the accused persons could not take their plea without being properly represented by counsel.

"This court cannot do anything about the matter before me. The accused persons cannot take their plea without being properly represented by counsel.

"This is the third time we are experiencing this and the law does not permit me to go on with the matter without counsel on all sides," the Judge said.

Before adjourning the matter to March 12, 2013, Justice Duruoha-Igwe advised the accused persons to secure the services of lawyers, adding that they should be remanded in prison custody.

Vanguard recalls that when the matter first came up October 29, 2012, the accused persons and lawyers were not complete in court and the story repeated itself November 21, 2012 and yesterday.

It will also be recalled that late Alaribe was kidnapped January 21, 2012, at Nnorie, Ngor Okpala local council area of Imo State and was later killed by the kidnappers after collecting ransom from his family.

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