403 views | Elochukwu Benjamin | May 25, 2020
A Human Rights Group in Anambra State says it has uncovered plans by prime suspects in the murder of one Angus Okoye of Isuaniocha in Awka North LGA of Anambra State, to evade arraignment and trial for their crimes.
Okoye, a 48-year-old businessman, was killed after being kidnapped at about 1:30 am on December 16, 2018, at his home in Ifite Isu Village, Isuaniocha.
His family members said he was killed for being the star witness in a case of N100m fraud instituted by the community through the Economic Financial Crimes Commission against one Anthony Onyeagolu.
Chidiebere Okoye, an indigene of the community, who was one of those kidnapped, tortured, shot and presumed dead, survived and was invited by the police to make a statement on the incident where he indicted Onyeagolu.
Okoye also named others linked to the incident to include Boniface Enweani, Augustine Adigwe, Mr Moses Emebo, Stephen Ibeania and others.
The News Chronicle gathered that the prime suspect, one Anthony Onyeagolu and two others, were earlier this month, served fresh murder charges on the orders of the State Commissioner of Police, John Abang, after they were discreetly released from Police custody at midnight while awaiting arraignment for the murder of the late Okoye.
The unlawful release was discreetly sanctioned by the Commissioner of Police (CP), Legal Department, Force Headquarters, Abuja CP Austin Sanomi.
Following the uncovering of this shocking surreptitious release and the alarm raised by the Human Rights Group, Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC) and the ensuing media attention, the DIG FCID, Force Headquarters ordered the immediate re-arrest and return to the custody of the suspect and his co-accused persons and their immediate arraignment at the Anambra State High Court for murder.
It was further revealed that another plan was hatched to suppress the murder charge by preferring a lesser charge of attempted murder against the murder mastermind.
Again, the nefarious plot to change the charge from murder to attempted murder was exposed and scuttled following an SOS sent by the family representative of the victim to the DIG FCID who ordered that the accused be immediately arraigned for murder.
On May 15, the Commissioner of Police in Anambra, CP John Abang, in demonstration of his commitment to allow justice prevail, gave the O/C Legal, Anambra State Police Command a firm directive to immediately file murder charges against the accused.
But in clear defiance of the move to get him arraigned, the wealthy prime murder suspect and his two co-accused, have filed three fundamental human rights applications before three different High Court Judges in Onitsha, Anambra State respectively for each of them.
According to the RULAAC Executive Director, Okey Nwanguma, they are informed that the suspects filed false information intending to mislead the courts to grant them reliefs based on false claims about the nature of their crimes and location of their arrests.
“While we concede to them their entitlement to their fundamental rights including the right to approach the High Courts for the enforcement of their rights, we are only concerned by the revelation that they have filed false information to the courts intending to mislead the courts to hear and grant them reliefs based on false claims about the nature of their crime and the location of their arrest.
“This is, therefore, to put the Chief Judge of Anambra State on notice to be alert to ensure the scrutiny of claims in any application brought by Anthony Onyeagolu and his accomplices and to ensure that both the Police and the complainants in the murder case are put on notice before considering and granting any prayers that the murder suspects may bring before the courts.
“This is to ensure that the suspects in heinous multiple crimes of murder and attempted murder are not allowed to manipulate and use the judiciary to escape justice,” Nwanguma said.