A source at the Rivers State Ministry of Justice has revealed that the Rivers State Government has withdrawn the much talked about charge against Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Arch. Tonye Cole and others. The source, who works in the Chambers of the Attorney General of Rivers State and prefers to speak on condition of anonymity, stated that the Attorney General was forced to withdraw the charge painfully due to manifest legal flaws in the process. The source stated:
“The AG had to shamefully withdraw the charged after Amaechi’s lawyers forced them to do so through powerful legal arguments. How can you charge someone to High Court without investigation, no statement of witnesses, no statement of the accused persons, all in the name of what I don’t know. Then after filing the charge, you then begin to dance around the police to help you fix investigation report by arresting innocent citizens and forcing them to make statements against the defendants”
The source added: “the AG as a Senior Advocate in Nigerian is not happy that he has to be used to settle scores and file such charge, but what can he do. If he refuses to carryout his bosses instructions, he will be fired immediately by the Governor. With the way things are going in the office, I am sure that they will refile another baseless charge just to please Governor Wike and deceive Rivers people that a change is pending against Amaechi and Tonye Cole. All lies and deceit”
The source also stated that when the Attorney General was summoned by Governor Wike over information of the highly legal objections raised by Amaechi’s legal team on the competence of the charge and legal processes adopted, the Attorney General felt very sad about the way he was addressed, saying that “this legal firework was avoidable”
You will recall that on a day that the matter came up before the High Court, presided over by Dr. Gbasam, J, Mr. Owonikoko SAN, Bode Olanipekun SAN, Godwin Omaka SAN who appeared for some of the defendants objected to the fiat of the Attorney General granted to Dewigwe SAN, Fedinand Oby SAN and after heated arguments, the High Court adjourned the Ruling to 29th July 2022 and subsequently adjourned same to 6th October 2022.
According to Ibejirika Adele, he said the source disclosed that the withdrawal was to preempt the effect of the ruling of the High Court on 6th October 2022 on the legal standing of lawyers engaged by the State as the outcome would likely put a bar on the said lawyers from appearing for the State in any subsequent charge that may be filed against the defendants. Another reason given was that the withdrawal was to prevent the possible decision of the Court of Appeal staying further proceedings of the High Court on the defective charge, which would have left the defective charge active for a very long time.
Governor Wike had boasted that even the appearance of fifty (50) Senior Advocates of Nigerian (SAN) in the matter cannot save the defendants. With the sudden withdrawal of the charge by the State, It would seem that Rotimi Amaechi’s legal team is legally ready for the battle.
Amusingly, Governor Wike and the State have been unusually silent over the withdrawal of the charge. The State was much active in the media during the filing of the charge that one would expect it to also keep the citizens informed about the withdrawal of the charge
Meanwhile, none of the lawyers from either side agreed to speak to our reporters at the time of this report.