Human Interest

Court rejects bail for kidnap suspects of missing Anambra LP governorship candidate


By Our correspondent

There was a drama in Ihiala High Court sitting in Nnewi, Anambra State, as presided over by Justice C.N. Mbonu-Nwenyi, when the judge rejected an oral application for bail brought before it by Ikenna Obidiegwu Esq, counsel to Chukwudi Odimegwu, the first accused person currently standing trial in connection with the abduction of the Labour Party governorship candidate in the 2021 Anambra State governorship election, Chief Obiorah Agbasimalo.

The court rather directed the defence counsel to prepare a written application for bail and file same at Ihiala High Court for adjudication.

The development followed an oral application brought by Obidiegwu shortly after the fourth Prosection Witness, PW4, Chikezie Mbadugha testified against Odimegwu, the first accused person in the kidnap saga.

The hearing on the case with Suit NO: HIH/15C/22 between the State vs. Chukwudi Jude Odimegwu and Maxwell Chukwudi Nwokolo, continues. In the charge, the duo and others still at large are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnap of Agbasimalo on the above stated date and have been remanded in the prison custody.

Recall that the Labour Party governorship candidate, Agbasimalo, was kidnapped on September 18, 2021at Lilu community in Ihiala LGA of Anambra State while going for to attend a LP campaign rally and has not been found till date.

When the case was called up, the 4th prosecution witness, PW4, Chikezie Mbadugha, a farmer and a native of Umudim-Nnewi in Nnewi North LGA, mounted the witness box and gave a detailed account of what he knew about the matter.

Mbadugha, who specifically testified against the 1st defendant Chukwudi Odimegwu, disclosed that on the fateful day, September 18, 2021, when they were about to set out for a campaign tour, High Chief Godwin Agbasimalo, also known as Oga ndi Oga, elder brother to the kidnapped victim and sponsor of the campaign train, called all the representatives and Labour Party coordinators for a meeting at his home town, Ezinifite in Nnewi South LGA.

Mbadugha further disclosed that after the meeting, ‘Oga Ndi Oga’ instructed everyone who had branded vehicles for the campaign to go to a service station and fill their tanks with petrol in preparation for their campaign tour.

He said that on reaching the filling station, he saw the Leader and Coordinator whom he simply identified as Nwammuo and the 1st defendant Chukwudi Odimegwu, who instructed that he and others should be given N4,000 each for petrol.

He said, “The first defendant told us that High Chief Godwin Agbasimalo (Oga ndi Oga) had selected the people that would go to the campaign rally, which never happened before but the first defendant, never mentioned the name of the people that will go either.”

After testifying before the court, Mbadugha was not cross-examined by the defence counsel.

But reacting after the testimony of the witness, the counsel to the 1st defendant, said that diligence is required in the matter, noting that developments during the testimony so far are suggestive of a “game plan to keep the defendants in perpetually detention”.

His utterances, however, did not go down well with the prosecution counsel who countered him immediately and stated that she still has credible witnesses who will give their testimony over the matter as the hearing continue.

But the drama and hot arguments started when the prosecution counsel objected the bail application on the grounds that several prosecution witnesses are still lined up to testify against the accused persons with “concrete facts and evidences”.

The counsel to the second defendant, Maxwell Chukwudi Nwokolo, also pleaded that his client should be granted bail, but Justice C.N. Mbonu-Nwenyi, however told him to go to Ihiala court which is the right place to file the motion.

It was front and back banters from the legal practitioners as the matter was adjourned to April 26, 2024. After testifying before the court, Mbadugha, who was not cross – examined was discharged from the witness box by Justice-Mbonu-Nwenyi and the judge adjourned the matter to Friday, April 26 for PW5 to testify.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the case was adjourned, a relative of the kidnapped victim, who pleaded anonymity, observed that the accused persons were being given some VIP treatments on the ground that they usually come to court dressed gorgeously without wearing prison regalia like other suspects, adding that they also come to court in luxury vehicles instead of Black Maria.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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