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In a five-count charge at the Magistrate Court, Reverend Father Ejike Nwankwo and others at large were accused thus:

“That you, Reverend Ejike Nwankwo, male, of Maryland Catholic Centre Okpuko Awka and others at large, on or about 7th of May, 2021, at Umunze town in Orumba South District, did commit the offences; threatening violence, assault, malicious damage and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace; you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 496 of the Criminal Code CAP 36 Vol.11, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991.

“That you, Reverend Father Nwankwo, male, and others at large on the said date, place and aforesaid Magisterial District did commit the offence of assault, in that you assaulted one Nnenna Ezenwa, female; Chioma Julia, female; Chigazunwa Ugwu, female; and Christian Anointing, male; by hitting them with fist blows and sticks on different parts of their bodies which caused them to hurt;  you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 250 and punishable under section 253  of the Criminal Code CAP 36 VOL. 11, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria 1991.

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“That you, Reverend Father Ejike Nwankwo, male, and others at large on the said date, place and aforesaid Magisterial District committed an offence of threatening violence, in that you threatened the lives of Nnenna Ezenwa, Chioma Julia, Chigazunwa Ugwu and Christian Anointing, in the public place by saying you would kill them, their blood will flow today and also burn down the place they were which you did with the intent of annoying them; you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 120 of the Criminal Code CAP 36 VOL.II, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991.

“That you, Reverend Ejike Nwankwo and others at large on the said date, place and aforesaid Magisterial District, did commit the offence of malicious damage in that you willfully damaged phones, motorcycles, vehicles and other properties of Nnenna Ezenwa, Chioma Julia, Chigazunwa Ugwu, Christian Anointing, by breaking them, you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 415 of the Criminal Code CAP 36 VOL. II, Laws of Anambra State of Nigeria, 1991.

“That you, Reverend Father Ejike Nwankwo and others at large on the said date, place and in the aforesaid Magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a  public in a manner likely to cause a breach of peace by invading the workplace of Nnenna Ezenwa, Christian Anointing and others at Havila Gold Inter-Biz Imprex Nigeria Limited, Umunze and attacked them, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 247 (d) of the Criminal Code CAP 36 VOL. II, Laws of Anambra State Nigeria, 1991.”

When the matter came up last Tuesday, the Police Prosecutor, DSP Patrick Ogele, drew the attention of the Court to Reverend Father Nwankwo alleged consistent refusal to come to court to answer to the charges, prompting the presiding Magistrate to issue a Bench Warrant against him.

The Warrant of Arrest dated 1st March 2022, read:

“To all Police officers, complaint on oath has been made on the 30th day of November 2021 by the complainant, that Rev. Father Ejike Nwankwo, hereinafter called the defendant, on the 1st day of March 2022 at Umunze in the Orumba South Magistral District, aforesaid did fail to come to court, for this reason, the Presiding Admin. Chief Magistrate Grade One ordered the Policemen to arrest you and brought you to court to come and answer to the charges against you.

“And the defendant was thereupon summoned to appear before the Chief Magistrate’s Court of the Orumba South Magisterial District sitting at Chief Magistrate Court Umunze on the 8th day of March 2022 at the hour of 9 am in the free noon, to answer to the said charge. An oath has been made that the defendant was duly served with a summons, but did not appear and that such complaint is true.

“You are therefore hereby commanded to bring the defendant before the Magistrate’s Court of the Orumba South Magisterial District sitting at C.M.C Umunze forthwith to answer to the said complaint and be further dealt with according to the law.”

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