The High Court of Justice of the Federal Capital Territory, sitting in Apo, Abuja, has stopped the trial of the spokesperson of the Coalition for United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere.
Justice Binta Mohammed of the court granted an application by Ugochinyere to stop his trial at an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court.
The court restrained the Wuse Chief Magistrate Court from going ahead with the trial of a case of criminal defamation brought against him by the inspector-general of police after a complaint by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA).
Recall that on June 22, 2020, the CUPP spokesperson was arraigned before the Wuse Zone 2 Chief Magistrate Court in Charge No. CR/12/2020 on allegations of criminal defamation following the report of the Speaker and the Clerk to the National Assembly.
By this ruling of the FCT High Court, the charges have been quashed and the trial terminated as the FCT High Court has held that the chief Magistrate acted Mala fidei, without jurisdiction beyond her jurisdiction.
The Court also directed the defendants, whether by themselves or acting jointly or through their agents, prohibiting them from further conducting any hearing or proceedings against the claimant/applicant in the matter of Commissioner of Police v. Ikeagwuonu Imo Ugochinyere – Charge No:CR/12/2020 before the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja or on any facts constituting the same subject matter as the case/charge.
By this order of court, the inspector general of police and other security agencies are hereby effectively restrained from arresting of prosecuting Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere on the set of facts which comprised the allegation brought against him by Speaker Gbajabiamila and his allies.
In his response to the judicial victory, the CUPP spokesperson thanked God for the grace to survive the onslaught against him and also praised the judge for act of rare courage in delivering such judgment in a regime that stops at nothing to intimidate and emasculate the judiciary.
“It must have been to ensure that the judiciary does not protect the legitimate voices of the opposition like it has done today that this regime has been unrelenting in actions to intimidate and emasculate the judiciary. Today, Speaker Gbajabiamila has left Court with a bloodied nose. He believed that that their mission to do anyhow with the judiciary has been accomplished. So this ruling today will motivate them to continue their onslaught on the judiciary since they have realized there are still some fearless judges in the country,” he said.
Speaking further, he thanked his colleagues in the CUPP, the people of Ideato Federal Constituency and all Nigerians urging them to keep faith with the Nigerian opposition so that they can have an opportunity to reclaim and rescue Nigeria in the 2023 general election.