The bizarre case of Obi Uche Irenuma took yet another twist inside the Delta State Magistrate court room on Wednesday when trial magistrate, Mrs. Queen Momoh, remanded him to prison until early March. It was news the embattled dethroned Abavo monarch likely did not want to hear following his collapse at police headquarters on Monday.
Delta State police in Asaba had placed him under arrest that day for allegedly giving them false information about a series of strange events that include arson, the destruction of at least four homes, random shootings, and unprovoked attacks on innocent citizens in the village where he ruled. On Monday following his collapse, the Obi was rushed to a private hospital in the state capital.
On Wednesday, police moved, some say, dragged the monarch to the Asaba magistrate court for possible trial, where he went before a judge.
Wednesday’s court drama, witnessed by a SaharaReporters correspondent, started as soon the trial magistrate, Mrs. Queen Momoh, read out the 15 count series of charges brought against the monarch and others. The monarch who was brought to court on a stretcher with a medical drip attached to each of his arms, vomited, and started what some eyewitnesses said was convulsion.
It was at this point where Mr. Matthew Omonade, the monarch’s legal counsel, had immediately pleaded for a motion, and attention of the trial magistrate, that his client was not in good health, and in a poor condition to attend court proceedings.
The trial magistrate, Mrs. Queen Momoh, ignored Omonade’s plea for a delay, and went ahead reading off the chargers against the Obi, and others connected in the bizarre case.
“That you Obi Uche Irenuma, Onyekewn Festus, Irenuma Ogochukwu, Amadi Chison, Prince Chinedu Irenuma and others, now at large,” the magistrate read, “on or about the 16th day of January in Abavo magistrate district, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony, to wit promoting ethnic war, and therefore committed an offence punishable under section 516 of the criminal code law cap C12, laws of Delta state of Nigeria.”
Turning to face the embattled monarch, in a dramatic and pointed fashion, went on to read, “That you, Obi Uche Irenuma, Onyekewn Festus, Irenuma Ogochukwu, Amadi Chison, Prince Chinedu Irenuma, and others now at large, did without lawful authority, carried out war against the Abavo kingdom, committed (an) attempted murder, malicious damage of houses and other property, (provided) false information to the commissioner of police, Delta State command, among others.”
After reading off the charges against the monarch and others, the court fell silent. The trial magistrate at that point remanded the monarch to a federal prison hospital where he will remain in custody. She also adjourned the case to March 11th, 2014 for a further hearing.
Some indigenes who had fingered the former Delta State House of Assembly Speaker, Mr. Martins Okonta, of allegedly throwing his weight behind the embattled monarch of the community, remained adamant that more needed to be done. With special force they continued to point out the brutality that resulted in, what they said, was the unleashing of terror against his people, also accused their king of sending his aides and guards to kidnap little children in the community for sacrificial purposes.
What stuck with them most of all, they said, was ‘the fanning of the flames’ that created a crisis in the normally quiet community, all because of oil money.