- Police arraign 37 for electoral offences
Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A Magistrate Court in Port Harcourt wednesay ordered that the former Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Council, Ojukaye Flag-Amachree, be remanded in prison over the alleged killing of one Smart Soberekon.
Flag-Amachree was docked with a two count charge of murder of one Smart Soberokon in Buguma in Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State by the police.
Chief Magistrate I.O Agbeso, gave the order after taking arguments from the counsel.
Counsel to Amachree, Ken Atswuete, had argued that the court does not have the jurisdiction to try the matter the accused is being charged with.
Atsuwete asked the court to strike-out the matter and refer the matter to a higher court.
The prosecution asked the court that the accused person be remanded in Police custody until investigations are concluded.
The Chief Magistrate, Agbeso, however adjourned ruling on the application of Ken Atswuete till Friday.
Tubotamuno Dick, who is the lawyer representing the deceased Soberekon, told journalists that he was satisfied with the decision of the court.
Atswuete on his part faulted the decision of court to remand his client in prison.
“We frown at the decision of the court to remand my client in prison custody and we are going to take the appropriate legal steps to state our grievance on that. But nevertheless, we will await the full decision of the court tomorrow,” he said.
The Rivers State Judiciary complex was fortified with security during the court session.
Meanwhile, the state police command has said it has charged 37 persons to court for alleged electoral offences during the March 19 rerun state and national assembly elections in the state.
The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO ), Ahmad Muhammad (DSP), said in a statement issued in Port Harcourt yesterday that the arraignment was contrary to rumours making the rounds that all suspects arrested by the police during the election had been released.
Muhammad said: “To put the records straight, it is pertinent to state that 37 suspects comprising 35 males and two females were arrested from different parts of the state on the allegations of criminal or electoral offences or both. All suspects have been arraigned before magistrate courts 4 and 6, Port Harcourt on different days. In essence, none of the suspects was allowed to go free. The Command is presently in consultation with relevant agencies so as to diligently prosecute the cases that will ultimately lead to conviction of the suspects.”
He therefore dispelled the rumours, insisting, “The command wish to state categorically that the rumour is untrue and that did not happen.”