By Anayo Okoli
AN Awka Magistrate Court has sentenced a middle-aged man, Mr. Joseph Nnajiofor to two months community service of clearing the magistrate court’s premises or one-month imprisonment and five hundred thousand Naira fine as compensation to his surety for jumping bail.
Nnajiofor was charged for giving false and misleading information to the police, that his younger sibling and other members of their family including, Ozo Obiekwe Nnajiofor, Rev. Cannon Kenneth Maduka, John Nnajiofor, Christopher Nnake, Okechukwu Nnajiofor, Joseph Ifeatu Okonkwo and others allegedly, kidnapped and took him to Agu Enugwu-ukwu, a location outside Awka.
He alleged that while in his purported kidnap den, that his brothers beat, injured and stabbed him severally all over his body and abandoned him to bleed to death, an allegation police said he knew was complete falsehood and mere fabricated lies.
According to the police, in view of the false and misleading information provided by Joseph Nnajiofor which led to the initial arrest of the complainants (his brothers), he committed an offence punishable under Sec 154(1) of the criminal Code Cap 36 Vol. 11, Revised Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1997 as amended.
During the hearing, Nnajiofor was granted a bail after his plea but it was discovered that he was earlier charged and sentenced to five months imprisonment in another court in the same Awka magisterial district for another offence, hence the bail was revoked.
He then approached a High Court which granted him bail but he jumped bail and never appeared in court to face the pending charge in suit Maw/162c/2016. On the strength of this, his surety paid the bail bond of N200, 000 and the court directed that an intense search for him be conducted. It took detectives more than eight months to arrest him.
He was then charged for contempt in charge Ref MAW/169c/2020 on June 15, 2020, where he pleaded “guilty with reasons”.
The court after considering the statement of facts, the plea of the defendant counsel and the aggravating factors, the relevant laws for contempt sentenced him to two months community service or a month imprisonment and N500, 000 as compensation to the complainant. He opted for community service.