There was a mild drama on Monday on the premises of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Bwari, Abuja, as the factional chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Edozie Njoku, was arrested by the Nigerian Police.
The arrest followed a complaint by the prosecution lawyer, CSP Ezekiel Rinamsomte, that Mr Njoku, before the commencement of the criminal case filed against him, had verbally threatened him as the counsel in the matter.
He told Justice Mohammed Madugu shortly after the case was about to be adjourned.
Mr Rinamsomte said the complaint had already been lodged at the Bwari Divisional Police Station.
The lawyer said Mr Njoku had waved at him in court before threatening him, despite not being in a rift with each other.
“The next thing this man started telling me was that he was going to send calamity upon calamities upon my family, that members of my family would be dying and that he would deal with me.
“I asked him what have I done, and he said he was a very dangerous man. He said he was the reason why the Director of Litigation of the Supreme Court, Mr Dikko, was removed and dismissed.
“That he was going to shake the Nigerian Police Force; that he was the reason why the daughter of (Onyechi) Ikpeazu, SAN, died; that he was going to deal with everybody in this case.
“And I said does it mean that this man is above the law, or what is the problem,” the lawyer said.
Mr Rinamsomte said he decided to inform the judge so that the court could take judicial notice of what transpired between him and Mr Njoku earlier in the morning
Justice Madugu, who hinted that he had already closed proceedings on the suit, however, asked Mr Njoku, who was standing in the dock with his co-defendant, what happened.
Responding, the APGA factional chairman admitted exchanging pleasantries with Mr Rinamsomte earlier in the day.
But he denied the allegations that he threatened the prosecutor.
“My lord, I only said that anybody in this case, who lied against me to go to jail or send anyone to prison by telling a lie, calamity will befall that person,” he said.
Mr Njoku said he neither mentioned anything about Mr Ikpeazu’s daughter nor made any such comments attributed to him by the prosecutor.
The judge, then, jokingly said Mr Rinamsomte should have avoided Mr Njoku, who he knew was standing trial.
At the commencement of the trial, the prosecutor sought to withdraw the amended charge filed against Mr Njoku and his co-defendant, Chukwuemeka Nwoga.
And after the defence counsel, Panam Ntui, did not oppose it, the judge granted the prayer, and the first prosecution witness, Godwin Odu, the deputy national secretary of APGA, gave his testimony.
The judge, consequently, adjourned the matter until April 27 for trial continuation after Mr Ntui cross-examined the PW1.
Mr Njoku, in an interview after the proceeding, said Mr Rinamsomte’s allegations against him were baseless.
“The prosecutor made a terrible claim against me, and he has already brought policemen to arrest me. That is their Option B.
Mr Njoku was later released at the police station after Mr Rinamsomte withdrew the case.
Messrs Njoku and Nwoga were, on November 28, 2022, arraigned on a 14-count criminal charge bordering on forgery, an offence which attracts imprisonment of a maximum of 14 years if found guilty.
The Inspector General (I-G) of Police had accused them of forging a Supreme Court judgement and the letterhead paper of retired Justice Mary Peter-Odili.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the entire 14-count charge.
They were remanded at Suleja Correctional Centre and granted bail on November 30, 2022.