Court Strikes Out Ijele Speaks’ Case

Court Strikes Out Ijele Speaks’ Case

…as police move to re-arrest social media influencer

Abuja Magistrate Court has struck out the case of criminal intimidation, threat to life, cyber stalking, and cyberbullying filed against social media influencer, Chizorom Harrison Ofoegbu, popularly known as Ijele Speaks.

Chief Magistrate Emmanuel Iyanna of the Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse Zone 6 struck out the case on Thursday while citing jurisdiction, stressing that the case is beyond the court to try.

Iyanna struck out the case and ceded it to the federal high court for trial while ruling on the bail application filed by counsel to Ijele Speaks led by Mr Marvin Omorogbe.

In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate also ceded the bail application of Ijele Speaks to the trial judge at the federal high court to determine.

Before the ruling, police lawyer and prosecuting counsel, Mr Obiora Ejiofor had objected to the bail application, alleging that the defendant had been making disparaging comments while in custody.

“I want to draw the attention of this honourable court to the fact that the defendant is making disparaging comments against the court.

“I am surprised that the suspect in custody is having access to gadgets with which he is making posts to social media. He is doing this with the view to intimidate the court into granting his wishes,” Ejiofor told the court.

However, counsel to the applicant denied the allegation, saying there is no way the defendant could be making posts to social media from custody.

“The applicant has been in detention for almost a month. I stand to vehemently counter this claim made by my learned colleague. This is not a playground for sentiments. This is a law court.

“The prosecuting counsel has not filed any affidavit and attached evidence of this claim. Therefore, the court should not take him seriously,” Omorogbe said.

After listening to their arguments, the Chief Magistrate said: “This is a court of law and must be seen to do justice. I will never be intimidated”.

Recall that the bail application of Ijele Speaks suffered a setback and was postponed last week due to Iyanna’s absence from court over issues related to illness.

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is prosecuting the social media influencer over alleged criminal intimidation, threat to life, cyberstalking and cyberbullying of the founder and spiritual director of Zion Prayer Movement, Evangelist Ebuka Obi.

Ijele Speaks was invited by the police days after his allegations against Evangelist Obi.

Meanwhile, a drama played out at the Wuse Zone 6 Magistrate Court after the case against Ijele Speaks was struck out as the police made an attempt to rearrest the social media influencer.

The police had hurriedly secured a new warrant of arrest from the court with which to whisk Ijele Speaks away from the Keffi Prison’s warders who brought him to court, with the aim to continue to hold the social media influencer in detention.

However, speaking with journalists after the court ruled on the case, Omorogbe disclosed that there is no justification for the police to continue to remand Ijele.

He stressed that all the orders that were obtained in the case ceased to exist, following the ruling of the magistrate court.

“The court adjourned to today for ruling on the bail. Ruling was delivered but the court felt the proper place to continue proceedings is at the federal high court.

“So, rather, he struck out the matter and by striking out the matter, it means that all the orders that we obtained in this case cease to exist because as it is today, there is no case at the magistrate court.

“The clear order of the court is that the remand proceedings is hereby struck out. So, we will be taking steps now to ensure that Ijele is released immediately and unconditionally.

“And if there are other reasons why the prosecution needs to prosecute him, we will wait for them at the federal high court. But as it is today, there is no justification to continue to remand Ijele,” Omorogbe said.

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