BY EMMANUEL MGBEAHURIKE, Owerri
An Owerri magistrate court was thrown into confusion when one of the fourteen suspects named Darling Ibekwe surprisingly lost consciousness and slumped while being arraigned before the court.
Ibekwe and 13 others said to be loyalists of former Governor Rochas Okorocha now Senator Okorocha representing Imo West in the nations red chambers, were arraigned for allegedly breaking into the premises of the sealed estate said to belong to the Okorocha family.
They were accused of conspiring among themselves to flout an existing order issued by the state government by removing the seal of the state government and storming into the sealed premises of Royal Spring Palm Hotel and Apartments belonging to the wife of senator Okorocha-Nkechi Rochas Okorocha.
The Police Prosecuto, Omo-Osagie M. A Informed the court that four of Okorocha’s former political appointees namely, Lasbery Okaforanyanwu, Ijeoma Igboanusi and his son in-laws, Uche Nwosu who was his chief of staff and Dr. Uzoma Anwuka his son-in-law participated in the exercise.
Specifically, Ibekwe was also accused of publishing a recorded defamatory issue on the social media with an ulterior motive to malign the reputation of the state government and the personality of Governor Hope Uzodimma while Olu Chizoba was charged with unlawful possession of a double barrel pump action gun without license.
After a six-count charge was read to the suspects, counsel to the defendants, Eddy Onyema, pleaded for their bail, assuring that they would not jump bail if granted bail and would return to the court to take their trial as soon as invited.
Onyema argued that none of the charges preferred against the defendants was a capital offence, stressing that was why he sought their bail.
Ibekwe, slumped when the magistrate, B. U. Adikaibe, returned to the courtroom for her ruling but was revived by his fellow suspects, who pleaded for water with which he was revived.
The court later granted all the 14 accused persons bail with N5 million each amounting to N70 million, which the court said must be fulfilled before they would regain their freedom.
Those arraigned with Ibekwe included Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom and Ekpendu Peace.
Others were Nev F. Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechifulam and Olu Chizoba.