Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed D. Abubakar, has once again demonstrated his commitment towards upholding the rule of law in the administration of criminal justice in Nigeria.
The IGP demonstrated this through his handling of a recent petition brought to his office by one Nelson Maduabuchi, through his counsel, a defendant standing trial before her lordship, Mrs. Muyiwa Martins of Magistrate Court 11, Igbosere, Lagos State.
Maduabuchi has been facing a one-count charge of issuing dug cheque.
The petitioner alleged police intimidation and gross abuse of power by men of Zone 2 Police Command HQ against him and his lawyer, Mr. Richard Eke.
The Petitioner, therefore, requested the IGP to transfer the case to Force Headquarters for re-investigation.
The IG Monitoring Unit swung into action and sent one Inspector Francis with dispatch to Lagos to retrieve the case file for re-investigation.
However, while that was going on, the lawyer to the complainant, Chikelu Ilegbune, sent a counter petition on behalf of the complainant, Chief (Dr.) Nzeribe Okegbue, wherein the facts of the case were x-rayed.
Ilegbune informed the IGP that the matter complained about by Maduabuchi has been in court since November 11, 2010, and that on October 14, 2013 when the case came up in court, the defendant, Maduabuchi, failed to appear in court to answer the charges against him.
The Magistrate consequently issued a bench warrant against him, while his two sureties, Mr. Ben Ugwaegbunam and Barr. Richard Eke, are to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited.
Ilegbune stated further that immediately after the close of the court’s sitting on the same October 14, Madugbuchi and his lawyer started calling the complainant on phone, begging to be given opportunity of settling out of court.
The complainant gave them appointment on two occasions for a meeting in his office but the defendant and his lawyer failed to show up, and thereafter nothing was heard of them until November 6, 2013 when one of his sureties, Mr. Ben Ugwaegbunam, was arraigned on a one-count charge to show cause for failing to produce the suspect in court.
Before the arraignment, Maduabuchi sent his wife and his elder brother, Cyril Maduabuchi with two post-dated cheques returned as dud. Now fearing the consequences of his crime and the bench warrant hanging over his head, Maduabuchi ran to IGP’s office.
The IGP reacted by directing the AIG Zone 2, Lagos to continue with the prosecution of his case charge No. A/64/2010 and also to investigate the fresh dud cheques issued by the same defendant.
The IGP said that it is no longer business as usual when suspects employ all manner of contrivances and intrigues to escape justice.
He condemned the defendant’s ploy to pitch the police against the judiciary in a situation where the two organisations are meant to work together.
Answering reporters’ question in his office on Monday, Chikelu Ilegbune said what shocked him most was the boldness and reckless display of impunity of a defendant standing trial for issuance of dud cheques still issuing more dud cheques.
Maduabuchi’s trial continues on November 27 at Court 11, Chief Magistrate Court, Igbosere, Lagos.