By Amby Uneze
A Magistrate Court in Owerri, the Imo State capital, has granted N70 million bail to an aide of ex-Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha and 13 others at N5million each.
The magistrate, BU Adikaibe, who ruled on the bail application made for the release of the defendants also insisted that a traditional ruler in the state or a member of his cabinet must stand in as a surety.
Justice Adikaibe said the decision to grant the bail application by the counsel to the defendants, Mr. Eddy Onyema is due to the fact that the charges against the defendants are not capital criminal offences and are all bailable offences even though the prosecuting counsel had earlier objected to the bail.
The 14 persons were arraigned before the court by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Nasiru Mohammed over six- count charge.
The charges bother on conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, willingly and unlawful destruction of the official seal of the Imo State Government, conduct capable of causing breach of peace, unlawful possession of firearms and a defamatory action on social media against the Governor of Imo State with intent to injure the reputation of the state government and person of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
While both counsels declined comments, a professor of law present at the court addressed journalists outside the court on the ruling.
The case has been adjourned till March 18.
Meanwhile, a mild drama ensued when one of the defendants, Mr. Darlington Ibekwe, slumped while the magistrate was ruling on the bail application.