By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The trial of suspected ritualist, Ifeanyi Dike, commenced yesterday at the Rivers State High Court, where he was arraigned before Justice Adolphus Enebeli.
Ifeanyi Dike allegedly murdered Late eight-year-old girl, Chikamso Favour, in August 2017, after raping her. He was also accused of harvesting her genitals.
Also arraigned before Justice Adolphus Enebeli are: Ogochukwu Nnamiro (Second Accused Person) and Sergeant Johnbosco Okoroeze (Third Accused Person). They were arraigned as accessories after the fact.
A mild drama ensued in court as Ifeanyi Dike, gave a loud shout after his case was mentioned. Thereafter, he refused to take his plea.
His counsel, Lizinna Ameegua, urged the court to order that a mental examination be carried out on him to ascertain his mental status. Justice Enebeli declined the request.
Thereafter, Ifeanyi Dike collapsed in Court. The Court entered a plea of not guilty for him, while the second and third accused persons pleaded not guilty.
The matter was adjourned to January 16, 26 and 29, 2018 for definite hearing. Justice Enebeli said the matter would be heard on a day-to-day basis.
Earlier in the court, Ameegua, raised objection to the trial on the ground that the information filed by the prosecution was incomplete. He urged the court to discharge the first accused person. The Court dismissed the objection.
Addressing journalists after the adjournment, Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Emmanuel Aguma (SAN) said he expected the case to be heard expeditiously.
He said that no party in the case was entitled to more than three adjournments in the course of the hearing.
He said one of the reasons for the adjournment was for Ifeanyi Dike to get medical attention.
Secretary of the International Federation of Female Lawyers, FIDA, Nnenna Igbokwe, expressed confidence that justice would be achieved now that trial had commenced.