A Magistrate Court in Owerri, Imo State on Monday granted 14 aides of the former governor of the state, Senator Rochas Okrocha, N5 million each totaling N70 million.
This was after a mild drama played out inside the court, as one of the 14 suspects, Darlington Ibekwe, slumped.
Ibekwe and 13 other loyalists of Senator Okorocha were arraigned for breaking into the sealed Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments owned by Okorocha’s wife
The suspects were accused of conspiring among themselves to disobey a lawful order issued by the state by removing the seal of the state government and entering into the sealed property.
Those arraigned with Ibekwe included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom and Ekpendu Peace.
Others were Nev F. Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechifulam, and Olu Chizoba.
Police prosecutor, Omo-Osagie M. A. told the court that Okorocha’s former appointees, Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Ijeoma Igboanusi, and his sons-in-law, Uche Nwosu and Dr. Uzoma Anwuka, were at large.
He accused Ibekwe of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media with the intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma by exposing him to hatred, contempt, ridicule, and damage his reputation.
The police prosecutor also said the police have charged Olu Chizoba with unlawful possession of a double-barrel pump action gun without license.
After a six-count charge was read to the suspects, council to the defendants, Eddy Onyema, sought their bail, assuring that they would return to the court to take their trial.
Onyema noted that none of the charges against the defendants was a capital offence, said, “worst, some of them are felonies. That’s why we’re seeking their bail”.
When the magistrate, B. U. Adikaibe, returned to the courtroom for her ruling, a suspect, Ibekwe, slumped.
He was, however, revived by his fellow suspects, who pleaded for water with which he was revived.
After the incident, the court had without delay given its ruling by granting all 14 accused person bail with N5 million each totaling N70 million, a condition the court said must be fulfilled before they would regain their freedom.