Contempt of Court: Akwa Ibom Attorney General urges police boss to resign
By Endiong John
The Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, has called for the immediate resignation of the State Commissioner of Police, Imohimi Edgal for flagrant disregard to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution and aiding the escape of criminal suspect.
Nwoko at a press chat in his office in Uyo said the Police boss will face immediate prosecution for flouting an order of court which directed the police to commit Leo Ekpenyong to prison custody(correctional service center) pending the next adjourned date of March 23.
Nwoko disclosed that the Commissioner of Police is grossly incompetent to hold any public office and explained that “it is only the court that has the power to reverse itself or a higher court and nobody from an air conditioned comfort of his office can sit to undermine the decision of the court.
“He is interfering with a court order and I have no business to understand it. If there was anything wrong with the court order, he should have gone back to the court.”
On Monday morning, following his rearrest, Leo displayed a weird theatrical countenance in the courtroom, thereby throwing the court into an air of uncertainty on the state of his health.
While adjourning the matter for hearing to March 23, 2020, the Presiding Magistrate Winifred Umohandi ordered that the accused be made to undergo medical examination at a Government Hospital before being remanded in a Nigerian Correctional Service custody till the adjourned date.
The criminal charge in suit number MU/182C/2020 accuses, Leo Enobong Ekpenyong ‘m’ 47years of a three count charge of “publishing an offensive publication provoking breach of public peace punishable under section 97(1)(a) of the Criminal Code.
“Giving false information and false statement to Government of Akwa Ibom state punishable under section 127 (1)(b) of the Criminal Code and causing extreme fear by making yourself an object of dread punishable under section 6(1)(a)(c) of the Akwa Ibom Internal Security Law,2009.
The remand warrant by the Magistrate directed that, “you the said police officer is hereby commanded to convey the defendant to the said prison and deliver him to the superintendent thereof together with this warrant.
“And the superintendent will receive and keep him in his custody till 23rd day of March, and on that day convey him to the Magistrate Court of the Uyo Magisterial district sitting at the Chief Magistrate Court 1 by 9am to be dealt with according to law.
Following the release of the suspect by the police, the Attorney General wondered why Leo Ekpenyong, who was to be taken to the nearest government hospital and later remanded in prospect custody was seen walking around freely at the police station with his phones returned to him.
He alleged that the CP secured a lawyer for the accused and ordered that his five phones be returned to him and later released the accused around 11pm on Monday.
Nwoko described the action of the CP as an abuse of the Nigerian Constitution and vowed to secure justice.
He said his office will report to all relevant offices from the Presidency, the Police Social office, the National Assembly and all authorities in Nigeria that CP Imohimi does not deserve to hold a public office in Nigeria as what he did is intolerable and a breach of the rule of law.
Nwoko said “a subject called Leo Ekpenyong raised a wild and unsubstantiated allegation, delebrately calculated to impune on the integrity of the Justices of the Tribunal and Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“We wrote to Leo Ekpenyong to substantiate his allegation or retract his statement with an apology or Face judicial sanctions which he failed to do.”
Nwoko explained that he kept contact with the CP, who assured to carry out the court order but was shocked to learn of Ekpenyong’s release.
Following the court order, Ekpenyong was yesterday admitted at the Police Clinic, Uyo and the medical report signed by CSP (Dr) Ahunaya C. N, shows that on examination, the patient was hale and hearty without symptoms of his alleged sickness.
“There is no history of headache, fainting spells or weakness of the limbs. No history of frequent mictirition. Patient is healthy, looking a febrile, anicteric, not pale, nil leg swelling. Abdomen was full soft moved with respiration. Nil organomegaly” the report reads.
However, inside source reveals that the Doctor was instructed by the CP, to recommend the accused to a tertiary hospital where the patient claims being managed for further evaluation and possible expert cardiology review and management.
The Commissioner of Police in a letter addressed to the Magistrate said he released the accused for medical treatment in Abuja “as only the living can face trial”.