By Chioma Onuegbu— UYO
THE absence of the Chief Magistrate in court, on Wednesday, stalled the arraignment of four staff of Deeper Life High School, Idoro, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Dr Effiong Udimidue in connection with the alleged molestation and maltreatment of an 11-year-old student of the school, Don-Davies Archibong.
The Police, Wednesday, moved 74-year-old Dr. Udimidue and the four accused officials of the school from its cell to the magistrates’ court at Fulga Street, in Uyo for arraignment.
However, addressing newsmen within the court premises, counsel to the accused persons, Fidelis Igwe, explained that they were informed that the court would not sit as the chief magistrate, who is to handle the matter, was not around
Igwe explained that the accused persons would now be arraigned Thursday when the chief magistrate would be in court.
He said: “The Police brought seven of the accused persons here. Five of them are staff of Deeper Life High School, Uyo. Two are students and they are both minors.
“The Police have not even told us what these people were to be charged for. We asked them to tell us the result of their investigation into the matter, but they have not told us anything.
“They (Police) just called them (accused persons) out and asked them to join them to court.”
Responding to a question on why the five accused persons were kept in Police custody, he said: “We have been going for interrogation, but when we got there yesterday (Tuesday) after interviewing them, the police said they were going to detain them.
“We asked them why, but they told us nothing.”
On his part, counsel to the petitioner, David Okokon, said the accused students, who are minors, would be arraigned before the chief magistrate in the juvenile court.
He, however, disclosed that the 74-year-old doctor, Udimidue, was invited and interrogated by the Police for going into St. Athanasius Hospital, whereas he was not involved in carrying out the medical test on Don-Davies.
He even threatened to petition Nigeria Medical Association, NMA, for what he described as “unethical and crude medical practice that is not relevant in contemporary medicine.”
It would be recalled that Udimidue and four staff of the Deeper Life High School were kept in a Police cell at the Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia, at about 5p.m. Tuesday, after a meeting of all parties involved in the alleged molestation and maltreatment of Don-Davies Archibong.
The four staff also awaiting arraignment are the Vice Principal of the school, an administrative staff of the school, two teachers, who double as Boarding Masters of the junior students’ hostel and senior students hostel, Mr. Akpan and Mr. NseAbasi Joseph.