A former Deputy Governor of Imo state, Gerald Irona, has been remanded in Owerri correctional centre by a magistrate’s court.
Irona was arrested by the police on Wednesday for offences bothering on felony
The presiding magistrate, C. N Ezerioha after hearing the prosecution counsel and defence counsel, ordered that Irona be remanded in Owerri correctional centre, citing lack of jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Counsel to the ex deputy governor, S. I Imo, had moved a motion that Irona be granted bail on self recognition.
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Imo said if the ex deputy governor could not be granted bail on self recognition, a state lawmaker, Frank Ugboma, representing Oguta state constituency, was willing to take him on bail.
But the lead prosecutor, Sunday Ogbuji, opposed the bail application, saying that the magistrate lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Also the lead prosecutor said one of the charges preferred on the ex deputy governor bothered on felony.
Ogbuji said that only a judge of a high court could grant Irona bail.
After hearing the both parties, the magistrate ordered that the ex deputy governor be reminded in correctional custody.
The magistrate agreed with the prosecution counsel that she lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter or grant the accused bail.
She subsequently ordered that the former Deputy Governor be remanded in Owerri Correctional centre, and asked the prosecution counsel to make all documents available to the defence counsel to enable them take next legal line of action.
The magistrate also ordered that the case file be transferred to the state Department of Public Prosecutions.
Irona was arraigned on three charge bothering on felony
The three count charge read” that you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did conspired with others now at large, to commit felony to wit: treason and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(2) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo state.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did make several utterances to the effect that you will make Imo state ungovernable and immediately afterwards hoodlums levied several attacks on Imo state with intent to intimidate or overawe the governor of Imo state and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37 of the criminal code, cap, c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo state.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona on the 15th day of January, 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, do converted to your own use two land cruiser jeeps ( V8 and v6) and one Toyota Hilux vehicle valued four hundred and Ninety three million naira property of Imo state government thereby committed an offence punishable under section 390 ( 9) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo state.”
One of the defence counsels, Kissinger Ikeokwu, who briefed journalists, said Irona ordeal was political and expressed optimism that the ex deputy governor would be granted bail at the high court.
Ikeokwu, who is the legal Adviser of the Peoples Democratic Party, said said that the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, was using state might to intimidate opposition figures in the state.
The police had on Wednesday arrested Irona at his Owerri residence, a development the state chapter of the PDP described as a plot to assassinate the immediate past deputy governor.