Court orders AGF to prosecute Ohakim over nude photo

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, has been ordered to take over the prosecution of former Governor of Imo state, Chief Ikedi Ohakim.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja gave the order on Monday.

The police had initially filed criminal charges against Chief Ohakim over allegation of threat to the life of an Abuja-based woman, Mrs Chinyere Amuchienwa.

While waiting for Ohakim to be arraigned in court, the police later filed a notice of discountenance of the matter in March, same day the AGF informed the court that it has taken over prosecution of the matter to ensure diligent prosecution.

According to the charge number, FHC/ABJ/CS/287/2020, Ohakim and one Chinedu Okpareke were alleged to have threatened to release a nude photograph of Chinyere Amuchienwa, if she fails to drop charges of attempted kidnap against them.

Specifically, Ohakim and Okpareke were dragged to court by the police over allegations of threat to life and harassment of Amuchienwa.

In a ruling on Monday, Justice Taiwo held that there was no doubt that the AGF has unfettered power to prosecute and withdraw a suit against any citizen.

The court said where issues have been joined in a criminal matter, notice of discountenance is brought by way of motion on notice.

Consequently, Justice Taiwo stated that the Court cannot give effect to the notice of discountenance filed by the police.

The trial judge insisted that the move by police to discontinue the matter lacked merit and therefore dismissed same.

In view of the ruling, the court then fixed October 21, for the arraignment of the former Governor as well as commencement of trial.

On March 18, when the matter was called, a counsel from the office of the AGF, Bagudu Sani informed the court that the office of the AGF had taken over the case via a letter dated March 17, 2021.

Sani said the letter had been served on the Inspector General of Police IGP.

On his part, the police lawyer Rufus Dimka, same day adopted an affidavit deposed to by one Inspector Joshua Yohana of the Legal Section of the Nigeria Police, andq urged the court to grant the notice of discontinuance and strike out the charge.

But Emeka Etiaba (SAN), representing Ohakim objected to the application by the AGF to take over the matter.

He prayed the court to dismiss the application by the AGF, adding that the content of the affidavit of compliance did not in anyway affect the consequence of the notice of withdrawal of the charge against the former governor.

He therefore urged the court to strike out the charge.