AN Abuja Upper Area Court sitting in Gudu, in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory has remanded a 50-year-old false whistle blower, Ahmed Echodo, in prison in connection with the recent raid on the official Guest House of the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu in Maitama, Abuja.
Men of the Police had on Friday May 27, raided the House in controversial circumstances.
They were said to have stormed and searched the building after which the took the steward, Mr Oliver Ogenyi, whom they met in the premises to the Inspector General of Police Special Square office in Guzape District, Abuja. He was later released.
Ekweremadu had raised the alarm at the Senate plenary on May 3, 2017, when he referred his colleagues to anonymous letter to him alleging that there was a plan by the EFCC to raid buildings associated with him and plant incriminating items in it under the cover of whistle blower policy.
He further alleged that the proposed raid was to ensure his arrest, detention and indictment, with the aim of cut short his political career.
The Deputy Senate President alleged that the mission to move against him was being sponsored by a cabal in the Presidency.
But police said they were not involved in the raid. The police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, had denied reports that the police raided the guest house, saying the Force had nothing to do with the operation.
He said, “I have inquired from all our investigation units and they all said they did not know about the operation, they did not carry out the raid, so we are not involved in the raid on the guest house,” he said on Friday
But yesterday, the force admitted that it was mislead by Ahmed Echodo and Maiwa Adamu (now at large) in carrying out the operation.
According to the First Information Report (F.I.R), Echodo who pleaded not guilty to the offence of criminal conspiracy and given false information to mislead public servant was said to have conspired with Maiwa Adamu (now at large) to commit the alleged crime.
The offence, according to the Prosecution Police officer, David Taiwo, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), is contrary to section 97(1) and 140 of the Penal Code Law.
The F.I.R reads; ” that on May 26, 2017, at about 0900hrs, you Ahmed Echodo ‘m’ aged 50 years of No. 44, Living Truth Street, Masaaka, Nassarawa state and one Maiwada Adamu now at large did conspired within yourself by informing the office of IGP, STS at Guzepe 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 mislead the police and hereby committed the above offence.”
Meantime, the defendant caused a stir in court when asked by the Judge whether he understood the information against him.
Speaking from the accused box, Echodo challenged the police to produce either a written or oral information, he made to them that they claimed to be a false information.
“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, (now at large), I was not there, ” Echodo fumed.
After his plea of not guilty was entered by the court, the prosecution counsel, Taiwo asked for an adjournment to enable him open his case against the defendant.
At this stage, counsel to the defendant, Peters Ugwuoke urged the court to release him on bail pending.
He premised his submissions on section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution and sections 198 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
Ugwuoke submitted that his client has reasonable sureties who are ready to stand for him,
will not jump bail and interfere with investigation or trial.
But in opposing the oral bail application, the prosecution counsel argued that there were no materials placed before the court to warrant it to exercise it’s discretion in favour of the defendant.
Besides, he submitted that the defendant ought to have deposed to an affidavit in making such submissions.
After taking arguments for and against the bail application, the Chief Upper area Court Judge, Umar kagarko directed that the defendant be remanded in prison custody pending the ruling of his application on June 5, 2017.
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Deputy Senate President on Media, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, had while speaking on the incident, said neither Ekweremadu nor any of his aides was informed before the raid was carried out.
He said, “They did not inform us. Only the steward was there. They should have, at least, waited for the senior staff to be there but they just broke into the house and started searching.”
“They didn’t find anything, anyway. They took the steward away to sign a document that they didn’t find or take anything away.”
Anichukwu added, “The worry is that nobody searched them before they entered the house; and nobody supervised them when they were searching (the house). Is that how to search the house of such a highly politically exposed person? No due process? We see watching and the world is watching us.