By Abiola Olawale
A Magistrate court in Owerri on Monday imposed 70 million bail on 14 aides of Senator Rochas Okorocha following their arrest on Sunday.
Each of the 14 defendants was granted N5 million bail, totalling N70 million altogether.
Okorocha, a former Governor of Imo state was arrested alongside his aides on Sunday for attempting to reopen the Royal Spring Palm Estate which had been sealed by the Imo State government.
Following the attempt and the subsequent arrest, Okorocha’s aides were arraigned by the police on a 7-count suit bordering on the alleged destruction of government sealed property at Royal Spring Palm Estate, among others.
Okorocha, who had stormed the sealed estate in a bid to reopen it was later released on Sunday night.
The aides arraigned before the B.U. Adikaibe, the presiding judge of the Magistrate, are Darlington Ibekewe, Obasi Goodluck, Nwaiwu Ndubuisi, Median Ijeoma, Obor Victor, Ucheka Claudin, Sunday Chisom, Ekpendu Peace, Nev F. Raphael, Basil Mba, Steve Asimobi, Ebere Nwokeji, Eberendu Chimechifulam and Olu Chizoba.
The aides were charged for allegedly disobeying the law of the state government by attempting to reopen the property which had been sealed by the office of the commissioner for lands, survey and urban planning in the state.
Darlington Ibekewe, one of Okorocha’s aides was also accused of publishing a recorded defamatory matter on social media with intent to injure the reputation of the state government and the person of Governor Hope Uzodimma by exposing him to hatred, contempt, ridicule and damage his reputation.
However, after the hearing of the bail application on Monday, Adike declared that the aides’ offences are bailable. She also noted that the nature of the offence will be considered for their bail application.
The Magistrate therefore granted each of the defendants a 5-million bail with an option of producing a surety, which must be a traditional ruler or a cabinet member.
During the court proceedings, there was a mild drama as one of the defendants, Ibekwe, slumped, but was successfully revived few minutes later.