By Chioma Onuegbu – Uyo
FORMER Attorney -General and Commissioner of Justice, Akwa Ibom state, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, has explained why the court struck out the murder case involving a female National Youth Corps member in the state, Ms. Chidinma Paschaline Odume.
Nwoko who noted that he was still in office as Attorney General when the incident occurred,
disclosed that the family of the deceased (Akwaowo Japheth) actually decided to withdraw the case.
He spoke in Uyo against the backdrop of insinuations trailing the judgement delivered on the matter last week, noting that the reportage that the Court dismissed the case and discharged Ms. Odume after establishing that she acted in self defense was wrong.
He said it therefore became important to make the public to understand that it was the family that instigated that the case should be discontinued as they won’t come to Court to testify, leaving no other option than to strike out the case.
His words, “What actually transpired in Court was that the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice entered a Nolle Prosequi withdrawing the charge against the accused person (Ms. Chidinma Paschaline Odume).
“And what led the Attorney General to issue the Nolle Prosequi was the letter of withdrawal of complaint written by family of the deceased. The family formally wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), saying, “we don’t want this case to continue, because we will not testify’.
“Based on that writing from the family, the DPP now wrote an opinion to the state Attorney-General, who now entered the Nolle Prosequi to withdraw the criminal trial and terminate it.
” Naturally the Court has no option than to strike out the case, it wasn’t like the judge just struck out the case on no basis. So once the Court is faced with a Nolle Prosequi issued by the Attorney General that is the end of the matter.
” We have so many matters like that. So my simple advice to the reading public is that they should discountenance the slant that was given in the news on what transpired in Court. It was a wrong reportage”
Nwoko further explained that when the matter was brought to him as the then Attorney General, he had advised that the matter should not be charged to court as investigation revealed that the accused only managed to use a weapon to kill the man who was trying to rape her.
The Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo, presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang had on Thursday January, 13, 2022 struck out the murder case.
The Court had noted that the action was pursuant to section 211 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 71 of the Criminal Code Procedure Law of Akwa Ibom State.
It could be recalled that the incident happened on January, 10, 2021 along Abak Road, Uyo, the state capital.