Reports made available to Trail Reporters News Room reveals that the Project Manager Energovod Nigeria Ltd, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor has been remanded in Prisons, in Calabar, Cross River State. His remand followed a three count charge of Conspiracy, Assault occasioning harm and kidnapping filed against him and others at large in Chief Magistrate Court 1, Calabar, by the Commissioner of Police Cross River State in September 2016. Our medium gathered that the Chief Magistrate, E. E Edogie had granted Engr. Emeka Chibuzor bail in the sum of N100,000 with one surety that same month when he pleaded not guilty to the three count charges.
Our correspondents gathered that the penalty for convicted kidnappers carries death sentence as passed and signed into law in September 2015 by the Governor of Cross River State, but at the time of arraignment of Engr. Emeka Chibuzor and others at large in September 2016, the amended laws on anti kidnapping which carries maximum penalty of death sentence was not readily available, which led to the arraignment of Engr. Emeka Chibuzor and others at large with the old laws of anti kidnapping, which carries a penalty of 10 years for convicted kidnappers. Our Reporters gathered that not satisfied with the police prosecutors and the compromise of the immediate past Commissioner of Police, Cross River State, CP Jimoh Ozi Obeh who allegedly freed the other kidnap suspects whom were supposed to be arraigned alongside Engr. Emeka Chibuzor, the complainant, Engr. Akim Chima Peter, through his lawyer, Barr. Manga, wrote to the Hon. Attorney General/Commissioner for Justice Cross River State for a take over of the case from the police prosecutors whom were already biased because their past Commissioner of Police, CP Jimoh Ozi Obeh had compromised. It was learnt that the Hon. Commissioner of Justice Cross River State, directed the original case file be taken over from police by Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) for diligent prosecution.
Trail Reporters was reliably informed that the case file was taken over by DPP officials in early 2017 but the case suffered several setbacks as over 7 adjournments were experienced as a result of the court not sitting or the defendant, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor not appearing in court with all sort of excuses.
Trail Reporters learnt that, unknowingly to the kidnap suspect, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor and his lawyers, the State Counsel representing the Hon. Attorney General, Cross River State had obtained the amended anti kidnapping laws of Cross River State which carries death sentence, amended the charges and filed in the State High Court, Calabar. When the case came up for hearing in the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Calabar, fortunately, the defendant Engr. Emeka Chibuzor and his lawyer, Barr. Eze were present in court and the State Counsel from DPP informed the Chief Magistrate, E.E Edogie that he had filed an amended charge in the State High Court against the defendant, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor and prayed the court to strike out the case and remand the defendant, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor in prison pending when he will be properly arraigned in the High Court. Reliable sources who were present in the court, confirmed to our Reporters that a copy of the amended charges filed in the High Court was served on Engr. Emeka Chibuzor’s lawyer and Chief Magistrate E.E Edogie hands off the case since the same charges but amended, has been filed before a court of superior records and ordered the defendant, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor to be remanded in prison pending when he will be arraigned in High Court.
We gathered that immediately the court gave the order, the defendant tried to escape from court but was apprehended by police and handcuffed and handed over to prison officials who conveyed him away in their prison van. Our correspondent gathered that, other suspects who are still at large who allegedly connived with Engr. Emeka Chibuzor to kidnap Engr. Akim Chima Peter are the Managing Director, Energovod Engineering Ltd, Mr. Ibem Odo, a Security Staff of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd (NDPHC), Mr. Annih Paulinus and some unidentified soldiers which were used to perpetrate the kidnapping of Engr. Akim Peter.
Energovod Engineering Company Nig. Ltd, Trail Reporters gathered, is one of the Major leading Contractors handling the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Our correspondent gathered that the Managing Director of The Just Electrical Works Nig. Ltd, Engr. Akim Chima Peter was awarded a contract by Energovod Engineering Nig. Ltd which involves stringing of a 330 KVA/DC Transmission line along Itu Calabar express way, Cross River State and that when it was time for Engr. Akim Peter to be paid his N52m for the job done, the Managing Director, Energovod Engineering Nig. Ltd, Mr. Ibem Odo, his Project manager, Engr. Emeka Chibuzor, a security staff of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd., Mr. Annih Paulinus and some soldiers deployed by NDPHC Abuja, connived to brutalize the Managing Director of The Just Electrical Works Nig. Ltd, Engr. Akim Peter and his workers on site, forcing him to sign a prepared document that he had been paid his money by Energovod Engineering Ltd in cash and when he refused, he was beaten almost to a point of death, chained, abducted and taken away in a military Hilux vehicle to Ibagwa military barracks where he was detained unlawfully for 48 hours without anyone including his lawyer knowing his whereabout.
Efforts by our correspondent to contact the spokesperson to the Hon. Attorney General/Commissioner of Justice, Cross River State, to confirm if charges have also been filed against other suspects at large did not yield positive result as at the time of filing in this report.