Ned Nwoko, Nigerian lawyer turned politician, has been thrust into the spotlight after he was accused of using his financial influence to facilitate the arrests of some community leaders in Delta with respect to a protracted land dispute.
On Sunday, a video had surfaced on social media in which Pamela Ifejoku, the daughter of a community leader in Idumuje-Ugboko village in the state, had pleaded with the politician to release Okey Ifejoku, her father, from police detention.
In the now-viral video, the lady, who is seen crying profusely, also accused the ex-lawmaker of using the police to oppress “helpless” community members.
“My father has been arrested again because of Ned Nwoko. I don’t know why Ned Nwoko is so bent on frustrating my family. Please, I beg you all to lend me your voices,” Pamela said amid tears.
“I believe somebody somewhere will definitely hear us out. I strongly believe there is someone who can actually do something about this. Ned Nwoko, please, release my daddy.
“Ned Nwoko, please release my daddy. Not just my daddy, please release Prisca’s daddy, Anthonia’s Uncle, release my Uncle Raymond, release Damclerk’s classmate. Release them. What are you keeping them for?”
Ifejoku, who is the head of Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union (IUDU) in the state, was said to have been re-arrested alongside Godwin Aniemeke, his deputy, in March. He is also believed to have been in police detention ever since then.
In a Twitter thread that accompanied the video, Pamela wrote: “Sometime in 2017, Ned Nwoko instigated a crisis in Idumuje Ugboko as a result of the community’s firm refusal to give him additional 90 hectares of land, having mismanaged the hectares earlier given to him.
“It was alleged that one Cyprian Kumaorun was killed. While this was ongoing, Okey Ifejoku was several kilometres away in Asaba. He was neither present at the scene of the crisis nor participate in any alleged fight.
“Nwoko has made it a point of duty to terrorise the community until they fall on their knees and offer him land on a platter. By virtue of Ifejoku’s position as IUDU president-general, he bore the greatest oppression from Nwoko.
“In 2017, Nwoko prompted the police in Delta state to file Charge Number: A/240C/2017, at the High Court of Delta State, against Ochei Nnamdi and Ofonye Ufoh, for the alleged murder of Cyprian Kumaorun.
“This charge was held on merit and the defendants were acquitted. Not done, Ned Nwoko, once again, prompted the police to file charge no: MI/24C/2020, at the magistrate court of Delta state, Isele-Uku, against his own king, Okey Ifejoku and four other innocent members of the community, for the alleged murder of Cyprian Kumaorun.
— PaMelanin (@pa_melanin) May 15, 2021
“The charge was sent to the DPP of Delta state, who advised that the defendants had no case to answer. On the basis of the DPP’s legal advice, the charge was struck out. While this was going, Ned Nwoko moved to Abuja and got officers of the FCID Abuja to arrest Okey Ifejoku and 9 other members of the Idumuje Ugboko community.
“The 10 defendants were arrested, detained at FCID for up to six months, before they were charged to Court, in two batches, by the office of the A.G of the Federation for alleged terrorism and alleged murder of Cyprian Kumaorun.
“One wonders how the AG (attorney-general) of the federation got so interested in a Communal Dispute in Idumuje Ugboko, with all the actual terrorism and banditry going in the North East and North West of Nigeria. Additionally, how could a charge be filed in Abuja when all the ingredients and defendants of the alleged offense reside in Delta?”
Giving details of the court cases, Pamela said: “The first charge: FHC/CR/169/2020 was before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the FHC and has been transferred to the FHC, Delta state. The Charge: FH/CR/11/2019 (Okey Ifejoku and 7 others) was assigned to Justice Abang of the Federal High Court. As of the time of writing this, 7 of the defendants have been granted bail, while the innocent youth leader, Raymond Omosiete, has remained unjustly incarcerated.
“…first at FCID Abuja, and later at Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleja, since November 23, 2020. All on Ned Nwoko’s prompting. Okey Ifejoku spent a cumulative time of about 5 months in both FCID and Nigerian Correctional Centre, Kuje, before he could perfect his very stringent bail conditions.”
The lady added that her father had already been detained for a total of five months but was rearrested despite the verdict of a magistrate court in Delta that dismissed the case and the Federal High Court in Abuja where he was granted bail.
In the ensuing crisis, it was alleged that one Cyprian Kumaorun was killed. While this was ongoing, my Father Mr. Okey Ifejoku was several kilometres away in Asaba. He was neither present at the scene of the crisis nor participated in any alleged fight.
— PaMelanin (@pa_melanin) May 15, 2021
“Seeing that almost all the defendants have been granted bail and that the charge is being exposed for what it is, outright persecution, Nwoko, prompted officers of the FCID Abuja to initiate another round of arrests, for the alleged murder of the same Cyprian Kumaorun, for which Ifejoku had earlier been discharged by the magistrate court, upon the DPP’s advice, and is in fact, still standing trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja,” she narrated.
“On March 25, 2021, as Okey Ifejoku and his co-defendants exited the FHC Abuja, where they had gone to attend their trial, officers of the FCID Abuja, arrested him and his deputy, Godwin Akaba, kept them at FCID for almost a week, before they were transferred to Delta State Police Command, Asaba, where they are being detained right now.
“Upon inquiries at the FCID, we were informed they were arrested for the alleged murder of Cyprian Kumaorun. A few weeks later, an additional member of the community was arrested and the police have vowed to arrest and prosecute the entire community, even though there are several concluded and ongoing cases on the issue.
“Okey Ifejoku, who was granted bail by the Federal High Court, is in detention at the Delta State Police Command, Asaba, for an offense he didn’t commit. The police have not charged him to court and they refused to release him.”
On Chukwunonso, Pamela said he’s yet to get his staff of office over three years after succeeding his father as king.
Documents show court ordered the release of Ifejoku, others
Court documents seen by TheCable Lifestyle showed that the magistrate court in Issele-Uku, Delta ordered the release of Ifejoku and five other defendants while striking their names off its list following the legal advice from the state’s Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).
In the file dated September 3, 2020, the defendants had faced four-count charges bordering on the conspiracy to murder, a count on the murder of one Iloh Kennedy, and another on the murder of Cyprian Kumaora.
Thereafter, the legal advice of the DPP stated: “I am directed to inform you after a thorough perusal of the said case file, this office is of the opinion that there is no prima facie case against… they should be released if still in custody.”
But a case with the federal high court, where Pamela claimed Ifejoku was granted bail, had followed in December of the same year with a three-count charge spanning conspiracy to commit terrorism, terrorism, and murder.
Ifejoku was alleged to have met his bail terms prior to his latest arrest, after which he was detained with the Delta state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the police headquarters situated along Okpanam Road, Asaba.
TheCable Lifestyle has contacted Edafe Bright, spokesman of the Delta police, who is yet to revert with details on Ifejoku’s case.
Efforts by TheCable Lifestyle to get Nwoko’s comment on the allegations proved abortive as of the time of this report.
The politician, who neither responded to calls nor replied to a text message seeking his comment, also blocked one of our reporter’s numbers and hung up on the other.
See documents below:
Copyright 2021 TheCable. All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from TheCable.
Follow us on twitter @Thecablestyle