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Police sue Anambra SDP chairman, 15 others for libel

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An Awka Chief Magistrate’s Court 1, presided over by Mrs. O. N. Ike, has adjourned till June 1, 2021 the case of conspiracy, slander, libel and character assassination brought by the police against one Mr. Ikechukwu Nwaekwe, a self-acclaimed chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Anambra State and 15 others.

The accused, according to a three-page petition signed by C.V. Okebugwu of N.C.O. Okwudili & Co Chambers, are standing trial in a five-count charge for jointly and severally organising a press on February 23, 2019 where they raised defamatory allegations against the party’s Anambra Central Senatorial candidate for the 2019 general elections, Chief Tony Chukwuelue.

The defendants, who presented themselves as officers of the state and local government area as well as the seven councils that make up the district ­– Idemili North, Idemili South, Awka North, Awka South, Njikoka, Dunukofia and Anaocha – tarnished Chukwuelue’s image by claiming that he “illegally procured INEC Forms CF 001 and CF 002 with which he contested as the SDP Anambra Central Senatorial candidate in the February 23,2019 poll.

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The offence, according to the suit No MAW/52/2020, was punishable under Section 496 (a) of the Criminal Code Cap 36, Vol 11 Revised Laws of Anambra State, 1991 (as amended) and Section 325 of the same legislation.

The case was adjourned for the umpteenth time due to the absence of the fifth defendant, Mr. Gerald Onwuanyi, aged 67years. Counsel for the second to fifth defendants, Messrs Emeka Ejike, while requesting for another adjournment to compel the fifth defendant in court, explained that his family had promised to produce him despite his recent eye surgery.

The state prosecutor, Mr. Kalu Onyeacholam, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), deplored the serial excuses by the accused, regretting that the attitude was slowing down the matter.

Consequently, the court acceded before adjourning to June 1,2021

Chukwuelue, who was present in court yesterday, craved speedy proceedings, as the suit had suffered series of adjournments occasioned by seeming delay tactics of the defendants.

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