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Murder charge: Court issues 2 bench warrants for arrest, detention of lawmaker

…As Rivers APC chairman shuns trial A Port Harcourt High Court has issued two bench warrants directing the Rivers State Police Commissioner to immediately arrest former Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd to face an attempted murder charge filed against him by the state government. Justice Chinwendu Nwogu of the Rivers State High Court 19 issued the two bench warrants on Thursday following the absence of Chidi Lloyd and his counsels at the court. The former lawmaker is facing a fresh charge in Suit No: PH/691CAP/ 2018; State against Chidi Lloyd on Murder, charge No: PH/692CAP/2018, the State against Chidi Lloyd on attempted murder, charge No: PH/693CR/ 2018; the State against Chidi Lloyd on injury and destruction of public property. Recall that the former Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Chidi Lloyd hit fellow lawmaker, Michael Chinda, with the mace of the House during a free-for-all fight at the Assembly Hallowed Chambers in July 2013 when five lawmakers led by Hon. Evans Bipi attempted to impeach the then Speaker, Rt. Hon. Otelemaba Dan Amachree and the principal officers of the House. The court ordered that Chidi Lloyd should be detained at the Port Harcourt Federal Prisons till the next adjourned dates for his attempted murder trial. The embattled former Majority Leader was expected to take his plea in CHARGE NO: PH/692CR/2018 – THE STATE V. CHIDI LLYOD and CHARGE NO: PH/693 CR/2018 – THE STATE V. CHIDI LLYOD. The matter has been adjourned to 10th January, 2018 to enable the police to produce Hon. Lloyd to take his plea. Addressing journalists after the court sitting, Counsel to the Rivers State Government, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) stated that the State was ready for the expeditious trial of the former lawmaker. He said: “The defendant’s absence was not excused at all. On the basis of that, we applied for bench warrants to be issued for the two different cases to compel the appearance of the defendant in court on the next adjourned date of 10th January, 2019. “Two Bench Warrants have now been issued mandating the Commissioner of Police of Rivers State to arrest and to detain Chidi Lloyd in Port Harcourt prison till the next adjourned date and to produce the defendant in court on the next adjourned date,” the legal counsel stated. Also, the Rivers State Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr. Ojukaye Flag-Amachree was absent in Court, Thursday, for his second murder trial before Hon. Justice Joy N. Akpughunum. Hon Flag-Amachree who is also a former chairman of Asari Toru LGA of the state, had been charged with the murder of one Smart Soberekon and re-arraigned for an attempted murder of one Ipalibo Jackson. Additionally, Counsel to Ojukaye Flag-Amachree was absent in respect to Case Number PH/1664/CR/2016 between the State and Ojukaye Flag Amachree. Following the absence of Ojukaye Flag-Amachree to take his plea on his second murder charge, the Court adjourned to January 24, 2018, to enable him appear it. Addressing journalists, counsel to the Rivers State Government, Chief Godwin Obla (SAN) said that it was out of the abundance of caution that prosecution requested for a short adjournment to avail the accused person the opportunity to take his plea. The State legal representative noted that hearing notice would be issued and served on the accused person and his counsel. He assured that justice would be done in the suit. He said: “The matter was adjourned to today at their instance. We are in court, again the defendant is not in court and his counsel is not in court. His counsel has not written to the court to excuse his absence. “Out of the abundance of caution because we know that this is a criminal trial, we decided deliberately not to proceed because if we proceed it will look like the state is just interested in infringing on the constitutional rights of the accused person. The state is interested in the expeditious and fair trial of the accused person,” he said. The Senior Advocate of Nigeria added: “We have out of the abundance of caution applied for a short date to enable fresh hearing notice to be served on the accused person. The matter has been adjourned to the 24th of January 2018 for plea. Hearing notice will be issued and served on them. As officers of the court, we shall also do a letter to the counsel, notifying him of the new date.” He noted that if by the next adjourned date Ojukaye Flag-Amachree was not in court, the law allowed for alternative avenues for trial. Obla (SAN) said that justice would be done in the matter. Amaka Agbu, Port Harcourt

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