Court acquits landlords association chairman

A Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse Zone II, Abuja, has acquitted the chairman of the Landlords/Residents Association of Clobek Crown Estate, Lugbe, Oliver Otonyo and his wife, Chinonyerem of the joint act of criminal intimidation and mischief preferred against them by the Police.

The Police, in a First Information Report (FIR) filed before the court, following a complaint by the Managing Director of Clobek Nigeria Ltd, Bernard Ekwe and one Ikenna Uchenna, a staff of the company, that Otonyo and his wife threatened to deal with them, an offence which the Police said violated Sections 79, 397 and 327 of the Penal Code Law, but the defendants denied the allegations, after which trial commenced.

The defendants were also accused of damaging the electricity switch and water pipe in the estate.

The prosecution called five witnesses and tendered four exhibits to prove its case against the defendants, while the defendants filed a nine page address on no case submission in the matter.

The defendants submitted that for the prosecution to prove the offence against them, he must prove that, “In joint act, there must be a common intention by each person involved in the acts, that the defendants broke the pipe and the pipe found in their possession, that no other person except the defendant committed the said offence and that there is confession by the defendants respectively, pointing to them that they committed the alleged offence”.

The defendants, through their counsel, C. J Anyankele, told the court that the prosecution failed to link the defendants with the alleged offence to make them enter their defence, adding that none of the five witnesses called by the prosecution informed the court that it was the defendants that destroyed the pipe, but based their evidence on hearsay.

In a reply to the defendants’ no case submission, prosecution counsel, S. O Suleiman, told the court that the prosecution had made out a prima facie case against the defendants to sufficiently require them to enter their defence.

He said, “a cursory look at the evidence of the prosecution witnesses will convince this court that all the evidences are unambiguous as to the fact that it is nobody else that damaged the pipe and threatened the 1st and 2nd prosecution witnesses than the two defendants in this case”.