Missing Case File Delays Bail For Petitioners Remanded In Nigerian Prison Over Allegations Against Divisional Police Officer In Extortion Case | #NwokeukwuMascot
The registrar of the Magistrate court that remanded the two victims of police brutality said the file had been dispatched, but the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) reportedly denied receiving the said file.
Recall we had reported on December 13, 2023 that the Enugu State police commissioner, Kanayo Uzuegbu, reportedly ordered the arrest and arraignment of one Ikechukwu Uduji (23) and Ikechukwu Okolie (38) over their petition against the DPO in charge of Awgu Police Division, CSP Ugwui and DCO for extortion.
It was also reported that Ikechukwu Okolie and Ikechukwu Uduji (who work together) were arrested on October 29 after the child dedication of the former’s nephew for his refusal to call some policemen the DPO gave him their numbers to disown the petition alleging extortion.
It was learnt that they were detained at the Awgu Police Station after they were tortured and brutalised for two days.
On October 31, 2023, they were arraigned before Magistrate P. U. Igwilo of the Awgu Magisterial District Holden at Mgbidi on trumped-up charges of attempted murder and serious assault on four policemen who brutalised him.
In a five-count charge marked No: MGB/71c/ 2023 which SaharaReporters obtained, the police commissioner claimed that the two accused persons conspired to kill four of his policemen on October 30 at about 1800hrs along General Hospital Road in Awgu, within Awgu Magisterial District.
The duo, according to the charge sheets, SaharaReporters obtained didn't take their plea as the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case.
Consequently, Magistrate Igwilo ordered their remand in prison custody and that their case file should be sent to the DPP.
He, thereafter, adjourned the case.
Subsequently, the relations of the duo petitioned the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice for intervention.
The AG through the DPP has yet to respond to the petition because as SaharaReporters gathered on Friday, the case file related to their prison remand could not be found.
Although the duo have been in prison custody for over four months, the DPP office claimed that it had not received the case file from the Magistrate Court to enable it to determine whether the victims had any case to answer in court.
The disappearance of the case file has further raised fears that police officers involved in the extortion may have conspired with the registrar of the Magistrate Court and some DPP officials to make the file disappear since the state cannot file any charge at the High Court where they could be granted bail without the case file.
Some relations of the duo who spoke to SaharaReporters lamented that their sons were languishing in prison custody.
A family member who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "The situation is that the Ministry of Justice says that the file hasn't been transmitted to the Ministry of Justice Enugu state, since it was called for it from the Magistrate court, Mgbidi, Awgu.
"But the clerks from the Magistrate Court, Mgbidi claimed that they have already transmitted the case file in respect of Commissioner of Police Vs. Ikechukwu Uduji and Ikechukwu Okolie to the Ministry of Justice, Enugu state.
"Nevertheless, the DPP has instructed that our lawyer should put up an application for the C.T.C (Certified True Copy) of the booklet that was used to transmit the said file to ascertain that the file isn't at the Ministry of Justice, Enugu state.”
"Then anybody and everybody involved will face the wrath of the AG; courtesy of the DPP. We have put up the application for the required C.T.C. and before the end of the day, we should have gotten the necessary documents. From there we will take it up," the source added.