By Chidi Julius Lloyd
Chidi Julius Lloyd
There was an attempt to impeach the then Governor of Rivers State Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, CON, by five Law makers of the Rivers State House of Assembly namely Hon. Evans Bibi, Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, Hon. Martins Chike Amewhule, Hon. Michael Okechukwu Chinda and Hon. Victor Ihunwo on the 9th of July, 2013. The arrow head of this assault on our constitution, was Hon. Evans Bipi and assisted by the Commissioner of police, Rivers State, Compol Mbu Joseph Mbu [as he then was] however, that absurd and abominable attempt was foiled .
When I was declared wanted by the Inspector-General of Police, MD Abubarkar (as he then was), I voluntarily turned myself in to the police at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. I was taken into custody for 12 days at the Special Anti- Robbery Squad Office, Guzape, in the FCT. I was taken back to Port Harcourt and after six days in the facility of the SCIB , arraigned before Hon. Justice Letam Nyordee of the Port Judicial Division , who remanded me in the Port Harcourt Prisons and admitted me to bail the next day. I made myself available for trial as long as it lasted. The Police frustrated all efforts by the then Attorney-General, Hon. Wogu Boms to diligently prosecute the matter after taking over the matter pursuant to Sec.211 of the CFRN, 1999, as amended. The Gov. of Rivers State , Mr. Nyesom Wike, who was then the Minister for Education and the arrow head of the onslaught by the Jonathan led administration against Rt. Hon. CR Amaechi (Gov. of Rivers State as he then was) instigated a suit at the Federal High court Port Harcourt, where they prayed the court to restrain the police from releasing the case file to the Attorney-general, who out of frustration, invoked his powers under the constitution and entered a Nolle Prosequi in the matter, on the 27-03-2014. I was eventually discharged of the charge of attempted murder etc. The Present Government, again in keeping with one of its campaign promises of sending me to jail, filed fresh charges of attempted murder on the 16th day of March, 2016, without Police investigation and in a matter a previous Attorney-General had entered a nolle proseiqui. In a deft move, the State Director of Public prosecution, I. Otorobio , who has since retired from the civil service, but still on the employ of the Rivers State government, on behalf of the Attorney-General , filed a notice of withdrawal / Discontinuance of charge No.PHC/600CR/2016 — State v. Hon. Chidi Julius Lloyd dated 10th October, 2017 in spite pending Appeals at the Court of Appeal. The court on the 6th of Dec, 2017 struck out the matter in view of the Notice of discontinuance.
In the month of March, 2018, three months after a second Nolle prosequi was entered, three fresh information were again filed against me in respect of the July 9, 2013 events, and all assigned to Hon. Justice Chiwendu Wogu , a kinsman of Hon. Kelechi Nwogu, one of the actors of 09-07-2017. This is the same Judge handling the case against the current State Chairman of the APC , Hon. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree and the intra party case involving the APC, Rivers State and who has been granting “injunctive Orders” in the said Congress case even when jurisdiction of the court is being challenged .
On the most recent malicious damage and affray preferred against me by the State, which have been given wide publicity by the media, I have not been served with the said charges, proof of information and documents as required under the ACJA, 2015. The offences are a misdemeanor that can be tried in the Magistrate Court. (Expunge the highlighted sentence)
The incident giving rise to the charge, occurred on 09/07/2013. At the material time, Hon. Otelemaba Daniel Amachree was the Speaker and Hon. Leyii Kwani was the Deputy Speaker. The Leadership of the House of Assembly did not lodge a complaint on the issue of malicious damage of the “Mace” and Affray (which is fighting by two or more persons) to the Police for investigation. No member of the House lodged a complaint against me to the Police.
I have not been invited by the Police under Section 4 of the Police Act and all extant laws, as it is the constitutional duty of the Police to invite, arrest, detain and investigate me, for the alleged offence of malicious damage and affray. Let the Commissioner of Police respond. It is after the investigation by the Police, the file is forwarded to the Court in this case of misdemeanor that I may be tried by the Magistrate.
The present charge of affray and malicious damage, filed by the Director of Public Prosecution (D.P.P.) is without the Police investigation. The question is, how did he get the information? Let the Director of Public Prosecution (D.P.P.) respond through the media if he is not working on the P.D.P. script to rattle me, before the elections.
- a) On Damage to property: the punishment for the offence is two years imprisonment for the willful and unlawful destruction of a “Mace”. The “mace” is not a vessel or a dwelling house. See Section 451 of the Criminal Code. A “Mace” can be classified as any other property in this case. However, did the Police recover the “Mace” in course of investigation, if they did, Police never confronted me with the “Mace”at all material times of my detention in July, 2013. Secondly, did the House Leadership complain to the Police that the “mace” was destroyed by me willfully and unlawfully? The Police never recovered any mace and none was handed over to the Police by the Speaker or his Deputy, which was destroyed by me. (See the table on Criminal law and Procedure of Southern States by Aguda, on Pages 851 to 854. See also Page 2181 for the offence). The offence can be tried in the Magistrate Court, for it is a misdemeanor, and is usually filed by the Police. The Charge is being filed without Police investigation.
(b) On Affray: Affray by definition is a public order offence of fighting in the public. Is the Chambers of the Assembly considered a public place? Whom did I fight that had complained to the Police or did the Police arrest at scene, took his statement and confronted me with in course of their investigations; and who determined in an investigation that I fought any person.
In Nigeria, (1) members of the House of Representatives fought. See Report on 08/07/2010, 30/06/2015, 26/06/2015. In Edo State House of Assembly, members fought; see report 16/08/2017, see also Video uploads. Check internet, fight by Nigeria Lawmakers. None have been charged to Court before 2013 and after 2013. In fact the fight that broke out in the House of Representatives during the speakership of Hon. Patricia Ete, claimed one life. And no one was charged to the court. That is to maintain and preserve the sanctity of the Legislature.
It is noteworthy, that, there is a pending appeal at Court of Appeal, Port Harcort judicial in Appeal No. CA/PH/209/2017 before the filling of these fresh charges without regard to the principle of lis pendis. I have lost confidence in the Courts in Rivers State, as they have assumed role of acting as the political tool of the Government, especially the unchallenged reference to it as ‘wike’s Kiosk ‘ by a former National Chairman of the PDP, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff. I have taken time to state my story so the public will know what the opposition face in Rivers State. I have at all times stated my willingness to be prosecuted by any offence known to the Nigerian law and not for persecution. I enjoin Nigerians to pray for me as my life is in absolute danger. I do not know the form it may take, but should anything untoward happen to me, Nigerians will at least remember I cried out loud.
Chidi Julius Lloyd, Ph.D, BL, MCIArb[uk]