By: Chuks Collins, Awka
An Awka Chief Magistrate Court One presided over by Mrs O. N. Ike has adjourned to June 1, 2021 the case of conspiracy, slander, libel and character assassination brought against one Mr Ikechukwu Nwaekwe, a self-acclaimed chairman of the Social Democratic Party(SDP) in Anambra and fifteen others some of who are still at large.
The 16 accused and others according to a 3-page petition signed by C.V. Okebugwu(Esq)of N.C.O.Okwudili&Co Chambers contained in a 5-count charge jointly and severally organized a well attended, televised and publicized press conference on or around February 23, 2019 where they raised serious defamatory allegations against the party’s Anambra Central Senatorial candidate for the 2019 general election, Chief (Barrister)Tony Chukwuelue.
The accused who presented themselves as the state and Local Government Area officers of SDP in Anambra state and the seven councils of the Central Senatorial zone including Idemili North, Idemili South, Awka North, Awka South, Njikoka, Dunukofia and Anaocha accused and defamed the character of Barrister Chukwuelue in their joint and separate press conferences by publishing and spreading defamatory and slanderous information that Chukwuelue illegally procured INEC Forms CF 001 and CF 002 with which he contested as the SDP Anambra Central Senatorial candidate in the Feb 23,2019.
The offense, according to the suit No MAW/52/2020 in Count One was punishable under Sec 496(a) of the Criminal Code Cap 36, Vol 11 Revised Laws of Anambra state, 1991 as amended. And Sec 325 of the Criminal Code Cap 36, Vol 11 Revised Laws of Anambra state of Nigeria 1991 as amended.
The case was adjourned for the upteeth time due to the absence in court of the 5th defendant-Mr Gerald Onwuanyi aged 67years.
The counsel for 2nd -5th defendants -Messrs Emeka Ejike while requesting for another adjournment to enable him ensure that the 5th defendant was brought to court, explained that his family assured they would produce him despite his recent eye surgery.
The state prosecutor, Mr Kalu Onyeacholam, an Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP) expressed concern over the serial excuses by the defendants that had impeded the progress and speed of the matter.
Consequently, the court acceded and it was adjourned to June 1,2021
Chukwuelue who was present in court told journalists in attendance that he would like to see a speedy proceeding as the matter had suffered inexplicable series of adjournments occasioned by the seeming delay tactics of the defendants.
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