January 26, 2023

Court strikes out criminal summons against CUPP’s spokesperson, Ugochinyere



By Fortune Eromosele, Abuja

An Abuja Magistrate Court has struck out a criminal summons filed against the Spokesperson of the Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere by Chinasa Nwaneri, an aide to Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State.

The allegations contained in the summons bordered on the revelation of alleged fraud by the All Progressives Congress, APC), in the voter register in 18 States including Imo state by Ugochinyere.

Vanguard reports that Justice M. A Hassan of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had suspended further proceedings on the matter pending the hearing of the application for judicial review filed by Ugochinyere.

The judge granted leave to the applicant. Justice Hassan sought certain orders by way of an order for certiorari including an order of prohibition directed against the respondents by themselves or acting jointly or through agents, prohibiting them from conducting any hearing or further proceedings against the Applicant in the matter of Nze Chinasa Nwaneri V Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu, case No. WZ6/CR/30/2022, or on any facts constituting the same subject matter as that case.

An order of injunction restraining each of the respondents by themselves, jointly or through agents, from further, prosecuting the Applicant in the matter of Nze Chinasa Nwaneri Vs Mr Ugochinyere Ikeagwuonu or in respect of any matter whose subject matter constitutes the same as the Case.

Relying on the above orders of the FCT High Court, Magistrate Umah Isa Dodo agreed that the impact of the order of the High Court was that he should stay proceedings, went further to also raise jurisdiction issues and resolved that his Court lacked the requisite jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

The Magistrate had earlier threatened to order the arrest of Ugochinyere if he did not appear before him before he was served with the processes pending at the High Court and which warranted the suspension of the trial.

Efforts by J. C. Nwosu, counsel to Mr. Nwaneri to persuade the Magistrate Court to proceed with the hearing of the case was vehemently opposed by counsel to Ikenga.

They argued that the lawful thing for the Magistrate Court to do was to obey the pendency of the matter in the High Court and stop its own hearing.

Cross section of lawyers interviewed at the end of the session were unanimous in agreeing that the case was provocative and an audacious move by the Imo State Government to silence the opposition spokesperson who revealed the massive voter register manipulation now popularly called the Omuma Magic.