Ex-Senator John Owan Enoh failed to turn-up in court to face the murder charges that has been leveled against him by the Cross River State Director of Public Prosecution. The Cross River State Government dragged the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to court over the alleged murder of one Ayuk Ogar (M) and Tangban Obi Atu (M).
It is unclear how the ex-senator would be linked to the case by the prosecution since the Nigeria Police had already paraded their principal suspects, Agbor Mgbe Agbor (M), Osawa-Ayi Amba (M) 22, Ojong Owan Ntokwa (M) 35 who they claimed shot and killed Ayuk Ogar (M) and the others.
“The matter was set for hearing but the accused was not in court and the reason why he was not in court was because the Counsel for Owan-Enoh, Bar. Mba Ukweni Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) filed motion challenging several aspects of the charge.
“One of which was that the suspect ought to have been tried in Etung and not in Calabar. But our position is very simple, the High Court of Cross River State is one Court and so he can be charge and tried anywhere.
“When there is an application of that nature and the accuse person is not in Court, the court cannot do anything. It has to adjourned and that was what happened and of course for us, it was like an ambushed.
“They knew the matter was coming up today but they filed their motion yesterday (Tuesday) and served me at about 4pm and I got to see the application just today (Wednesday).
“If we had had good time to look at it, we would have responded and of course by today, we would have taken that application but what we intend to do is to bring application to this court so that the matter can go to the vacation court for trial to commenced.
He said the charge against APC governorship candidate was that of murder. “If you look at our laws, he could say he wasn’t there when this thing happened but Section 7 of the criminal code had it that anybody that do anything, aiding and abating murder, can be charge for the commission of the offence.
“Because the boys who were arrested in connection with the matter, all of them linked to him and investigations reports disclosed that he provided some of the arms and ammunitions, that were used in the alleged murder and was the reason he is being charge”
According to the DPP, the matter was not political, “It is not political, anybody who is connected in murder can be taken to court, nobody is above the law, it’s a criminal matter, you cannot do anything behind the back of the accuse person
“The only thing we would have done, if that application was not filed, would have been applying for a bench warrant so that we can arrest him and produce him in court to face the charge but unfortunately this application came in” he stated.
On the matter coming up at the vacation court as said by the Presiding Judge who is the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Michael Edem, the DPP said, “Vacation court is for matter of this nature but our difficulty is that in vacation court two parties must consent” he stated.
Consequently, the counsel for the respondent (Owan-Enoh), Mba Ekpezu Ukweni Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said, “What happened in court today is that we filed objections challenging the competent of the information filed and the trial of the matter in the High Court One Calabar.
“The Director of Public Prosecution said he needed the accuse person in court and we said not necessary for him to be court when he has challenge the competent of the court to hear the matter in the first place and that has to be move first so he has requested for a day to enable him respond to our objection and the learned Chief Judge has fix the matter for tomorrow,
“I am not afraid of vacation court, certainly not afraid of the vacation court, vacation court is a special court, there are certain matters that need to go to vacation court, very very urgent matters.
“It is not every matter, not every sundry matters that are taken to vacation court that are already pending in regular court to vacation court, vacation court attend to very urgent matters of extreme urgency, it is not for matters that are already being heard in a regular court to be taken to the vacation court.
“The parties need to consent to the matter being heard before the vacation court if it is already pending in a regular court.”
The matter will come up again on Thursday 3rd August 2019.