Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
A former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Nze Chidi Duru, was monday arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court at Tinubu, Lagos, for alleged stealing.
Also arraigned with him by the Zone 2 Command, Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos, was a senior lawyer, Mr. Smart Iheazor.
They were charged with four counts bordering on conspiracy, stealing, breach of peace and impersonation.
They were alleged to have conspired and committed the offences on January 11, 2017, when they, in company of other suspects still at large, invaded the head office of the First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL) office with intent to forcefully take over the management and assets of the Pension Fund Administrator, PFA.
They were also alleged to have carted away some valuables belonging to the company.
Duru and Iheazor, lawyers of 28 and 30 years at the Bar, respectively, allegedly committed the offences at No. 65, Kudirat Abiola Way, Oregun, Ikeja in Lagos.
Both defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the offences.
Drama however, ensured before the arraignment as counsel to the accused, Emeka Etiaba (SAN), informed the court that one of his client, Chidi Duru, was at the point of slumping in the courtroom, having just been discharged from the hospital the same yesterday morning from where he was bundled to the court. But the prosecutor objected, noting that the the doctor at the police hospital, where Duru was
admitted, had certified him (Duru) fit. Magistrate Adefulire, after listening to both counsel, ordered the defendants to take their pleas.
Thereafter, counsel to the defendants persuaded the court to grant the accused bail on self-recognition noting that both were senior lawyers, while Duru is a former member of the House of Representatives. He added that their offences were bailable.
The prosecutor, however, objected to the bail on self-recognition insisting that they should be given sureties as they reside in Abuja, not Lagos.
The magistrate granted the accused bail in the sum of N500,000 each with one surety each in like sum.
The matter was adjourned till March 9, 2017 for trial.
Duru was arrested and detained by the police on January 13, 2017 for the alleged offences.