Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
An Upper Area Court, in Gudu, Abuja, on Tuesday, remanded 50-year-old Ahmed Echodo in Keffi Prison, Nasarawa State, for allegedly giving false information which was said to have misled the police to raid the official Guest House of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, in Maitama, Abuja.
The police were said to have executed a search warrant on the property on Friday, May 27 based on the alleged false information given by Echodo.
After the defendant pleaded not guilty to a First Information Report on Tuesday, the presiding Chief Upper Area Court judge, Umar Kagarko, directed that he (defendant) be remanded in prison pending the ruling on his bail application to be delivered on June 5.
A steward in Ekweremadu’s guest house, Mr. Oliver Ogenyi, was said to have been arrested during the police operation.
Ogenyi was reportedly taken to the Inspector General of Police Special Squad Office in Guzape District, Abuja, but was later released.
The First Information Report filed before the Upper Area Court accused Echodo of criminal conspiracy and giving false information to mislead police.
According to the FIR, Echodo conspired with Maiwa Adamu (now at large) to commit the alleged offences.
The FIR signed by the prosecuting police officer, David Taiwo, who is an Assistant Superintendent of Police, stated that the alleged offences were contrary to section 97(1) and 140 of the Penal Code Law.
The FIR read, “That on May 26, 2017, at about 0900hrs, you Ahmed Echodo, ‘m, aged 50 years of No. 44, Living Truth Street, Masaaka, Nasarawa State and one Maiwada Adamu (now at large) did conspire with yourselves by informing the office of IGP, STS at Guzape Area of the FCT, Abuja, that House No. 10 Games Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja occupied by Oliver Ogenyi is being maintained and used for criminal activities including keeping of arms and ammunition.
“Unfortunately, after the police carried out diligence execution of the search warrant, no incriminating items were found therein. You, by such action, misled the police and hereby committed the above offences.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the offences on Tuesday.
He also challenged the genuineness of police allegations when asked by the judge whether he understood the information preferred against him.
Echodo, who stood in the defendant’s box during the proceedings, demanded that the police be made to state whether the alleged false information he gave was in written or oral form.
Echodo said, “They (police) have not shown me how the information was passed to them by me. Was it oral or written? When they went to the house with Wada (who was said to be at large), I was not there.”
After the defendant pleaded not guilty, the prosecuting police officer, Taiwo, had asked for an adjournment for trial.
But the defence lawyer, Peters Ugwuoke, made an oral bail application, urging the court to grant bail to his client pending trial.
The lawyer cited section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution and sections 198 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, to back his application.
Ugwuoke said his client would not jump bail and would never interfere with investigation or trial, adding that the defendant was ready to provide reasonable persons to stand as sureties for him.
But the prosecution counsel opposed the bail application, arguing that there was no material before the court to warrant the exercise of the court’s discretion in favour of the defendant.
He added that the defendant ought to have deposed to an affidavit to back the bail application.
The presiding judge of the court, fixed June 5, 2017, for ruling on the bail application. (Punchng.com)