6th October, 2022
Cole salutes courage of the Judiciary for refusing to be used for political fights
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
In a surprise move, the Rivers Government has withdrawn the criminal charges filed against the former governor Rotimi Amaechi as well as governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Tonye Cole and five others over alleged mismanagement of N96 billion realised from sale of assets belonging to the state.
When the case resumed for hearing on Thursday, counsel to Rivers informed the court of the decision of the state government to withdraw the suit.
But the defense counsels told the court that withdrawing the suit at this point was an abuse of court process.
They therefore asked the Court to dismiss the criminal charges, if the suit must be withdrawn against the defendants.
Our Correspondent reports that the presiding Judge, Justice Okobule Gbasam, after listening to the heated arguments, struck out the suit as well as the charges against APC and others.
Justice Gbasam said the plaintiff has right to discontinued with the matter.
Speaking to journalists outside the court room, one of the counsels to the defendants, Achi Wobodo, said they demanded that the Court should dismiss the charges instead of striking it out.
The Rivers State government had filed the criminal suit against Amaechi, Cole and five others over alleged illegal sales of government assets that ran into several billions of naira.
However, Amaechi, Cole and others have repeatedly denied the charges.
In a swift reaction to the withdrawal of the charges, Cole in a viral video commended the courage of the Judiciary for not allowing itself to be used for political battles.
He said the state judiciary struck out the case when the Government saw that the case lacked merit and decided to withdraw it.
Cole also noted said unlike the fanfare displayed by Governor Nyesom Wike when he directed that the case should be be instituted, the government has remained quiet about its decision to withdraw the suit and the decision of the court to strike it out.
However, he said he was aware the there is still battle ahead, but he is ready to take on the battle to liberate the people from poverty.