The Imo State former governor, Rochas Okorocha, his son-in-law, Uche Nwosu, and Dr. Uzoma Anwuka, as well as his political appointees, Laz Anyanwu and a former council chairman, Ijeoma Igboanuni, did not appear before a Magistrate Court sitting in Owerri, for allegedly breaking the government seal on Royal Spring Palm Hotels.
As gathered, Okorocha and about 19 others, were arrested by Nigerian Police, Imo Command for breaking the seal placed by the state government on the facility, allegedly owned by the former governor’s wife, Nneoma Okorocha.
On Monday when the case was called for hearing, only 14 persons were, however, arraigned before the Magistrate Court on a six-count charge, with suit number OW/80C/2021, and were granted bail of N5 million each for their actions after pleading not guilty to the charges.
Those who appeared before the court and granted bail includes: Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom, Ekpendu Peace, and Nev F. Raphael.
Others granted bail by the court were Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechefulam, Ibekwe Darlington, and Olu Chizoba.
The arraignment and bail option came barely 24 hours after been arrested by Nigerian Police, Imo Command, for allegedly unsealing a property the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, had approved that be sealed.
During the court proceedings, magistrate, B.U Adikaibe, while ruling on the bail application made for the release of the defendants, insisted that a traditional ruler in the state or a member of his cabinet must stand in as a surety for the 14 defendants.
Adikaibe said the decision to grant the bail application by the counsel to the defendant, Eddy Onyema, was owing to the fact that charges brought against the defendants were not criminal offenses.
The magistrate, while adjourning the case to March 18, added that the offense which they were arraigned for by the Commissioner of Police, Nasiru Mohammed, were all bailable offenses even though the prosecuting counsel had earlier objected to the bail.
Mohammed arraigned 14 defendants on six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, disobedience to lawful order, willingly and unlawful destruction of the official seal of the Imo state government,
Others were: that the defendants conducted themselves in a manner that could cause a breach of peace, unlawful possession of firearms, and a defamatory action on social media against the state governor with intent to injure the reputation of the state govt and person of Hope Uzodimma, the state governor.
Earlier, the command spokesperson, Orlando Ikeokwu, said that Okorocha was released few hours after he was arrested over the unsealing of the hotel.
Ikeokwu said: “He was released later at night. If anybody is found culpable, definitely, he will be charged to court. If the investigation proves that he (Okorocha) has committed an offense, he will be charged to court”.