Ikedi Ohakim, former governor of Imo state, was arraigned before a federal capital territory (FCT) high court on Wednesday on a three-count charge bordering on criminal defamation filed against him by the inspector-general of police.
According to the police, in May 2019, Ohakim allegedly “gave false information against one Chinyere Amuchienwa that she threatened you with gun knowing it to be false and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 140 of the Penal Code Laws of the Northern Nigeria.”
“That you Ikedi Ohakim, on or about the 23rd day of May 2019, at Asokoro, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did unlawfully gave false information against one Chinyere Amuchienwa, that you have a plot of land for sale at Lagos state, knowing it to be false,” count two of the charge read.
In the third count, the former governor was accused of unlawfully using the name of Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, as the owner of the purported land situated at Ikeja, Lagos state.
But Ohakim pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Moving an application for bail, Ken Njemanze, counsel to the defendant, prayed for an order admitting his client to bail.
In the affidavit attached, the defendant promised to make himself available for trial at all times. In opposition, Stanley Nwodo, police counsel, urged the court not to grant bail.
“Bail should not be granted, my lord. Even though the offences before this court is bailable, caution should be applied,” he said. “The justice we seek is a two way traffic. Justice for the state, justice for the nominal complainant and justice for the defendant himself.
“Also, the defendant has the capacity to interfere with the case. Responding, Ohakim’s lawyer said: “He is not in government, he does not have the capacity to interfere with the case. He is just a simple citizen of Nigeria.”
Samira Bature, the judge, granted the former governor a N10 million bail and one surety in like sum. She said the surety must be a reputable member of the society and must reside within the court’s jurisdiction (Abuja).
The judge warned the defendant against inference with the prosecution of the case, failure of which she said could lead to revocation of the bail. The case has been adjourned to January 25, 2021, for the commencement of trial.