Attorney-General Malami Reacts To Petition From Delta Take It Back Coordinator Against State Justice Commissioner, Others Over Alleged Child Trafficking

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The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami has reacted to the petition written by the Delta State Take It Back Coordinator, Ighorhiohwunu Aghogho over charges of cyberstalking filed against him.

The petition was reportedly orchestrated by the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Isaiah Bozimo Esq and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mrs Efe Jesin Odogwu respectively.

The petition dated 3/8/2022 is titled “In the matter of abuse of office, aiding and abetting suspected child traffickers in Delta State by the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, the Director of Public Prosecution of Delta State, Barrister Isaiah Bozimo and Mrs Efe Jesin Odogwu respectively”.

It called for another investigation into the matter due to a visible compromise.

In his response, via a letter dated September 20, 2022, referenced DPPA/AGHOGHO/673/22 and addressed to Aghogho, the AGF through Yewande Gbola-Awopetu, head of SGBV Response/Gender Unit, partly stated: “This office refers you to your petition dated 3/8/2022 in respect of the above subject matter.

“I am directed to request that you forward to this office the charges and court processes to enable this office to take an informed decision that is deemed appropriate.”

“Please accept the warm regard of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice,” it added.

SaharaReporters in October reported what appears to be a ploy to buy time on the case.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN on July 21, 2022, filed charges in defence of former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Ibrahim Tanko Mohammed (retired), former Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Umukoro (retired), Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Ari Mohammed Ali, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs, Mrs Oghenekevwe Agas, former Director Child Development, Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs, Mr Fred Ugheni and the President of an NGO, one Joshua Omorere, who were accused of child trafficking and conspiracy in trafficking thousands of children from Delta State.

Aghogho who entered the dock around 12:45 pm pleaded not guilty to six counts of cyberstalking in a case titled ‘Federal Government of Nigeria Vs. Ighorhiohwunu Aghogho’ with charge number FHC/WR/92C/2022.

“I understand the charges against me, but I am not guilty, my Lord,” Aghogho responded to Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Warri.

The charge sheet dated July 21, 2022, bordering on the offence of cyberstalking and posting of information claimed to be false on Facebook by the police, was said to contravene the provisions of the Cybercrime Act 2015.

It was signed by P. N. Etumudon, Esq from the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abuja and slated for plea on October 12, 2022, at the Federal High Court in Warri.

The court subsequently became furious with the prosecution counsel, Mrs Aikpokpo-Martins, when she applied for a December adjournment date immediately after the Defendant took a plea in order for the prosecution to open their case.

The response of the counsel for the defendant, Ifeanyi Agba Esq who held brief for U.G. Ehirim Esq propelled the court to overrule the prosecution counsel and thus adjourn for October 24, 25, 26 and 27, 2022 for accelerated hearing. It affirmed the argument of the defendant’s counsel that the witnesses are not bigger than the court.

“If it were humanly possible for the prosecution to arraign the defendant, it should be humanly possible for the prosecution to commence their case,” Justice Okon Abang added.

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