Alleged Murder: Lawyer Faults Arrest Warrant Against C’River PDP Reps Candidate
A Senior Advocate Of Nigeria (SAN), Mba Ukweni, has faulted the bench warrant issued by the Cross River State Police Command against his client, Mr. Peter Peter Akpanke, whom the Police declared wanted.
Ukweni, SAN, who heads Akpanke’s legal team, stated that declaring his client wanted at this critical time when the House of Representatives election is about a month from now was a strategy by power that be to scheme him out of the race.
LEADERSHIP reports that Akpanke is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Bekwarra/Obudu/Obanlikwu federal constituency of Cross River State in the February 25 elections.
Ukweni’s reaction was sequel to a press release signed by the State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Irene Ugbo, dated January 23, 2023, which declared the PDP candidate wanted, saying the Police action was politically motivated,
The Police said it was acting on a Court order, issued by the Hon. Justice Blessing Ekpo of the Cross River State High Court, which declared Akpanke wanted in connection with the alleged murder of one Emmanuel Martin, a Police Inspector.
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The Police release alleged that the deceased Police Inspector was murdered on May 25, 2022, at Obudu LGA of the State during the PDP House of Representatives primary election exercise.
“The declaration is politically motivated and positioned to distract my client as he prepares for next month’s elections.
“Our client is not running away from justice, they have not served him with the papers and we appealed under protest that the court has no jurisdiction and the venue of trial is not the proper venue and they should serve him the papers.
“The judge ordered the lawyer I sent that day, handed him the papers and asked him to look for him and serve him.
“The lawyer said I am not a bailiff and cannot do the work of a bailiff and returned the papers.
“So if she decides to issue bench order, the person who did the killing was arrested by young men in Obudu and handed over to the Police in Ogoja Area Command.
“They went and brought an innocent person and forced the innocent person (that is the first defendant) to say that it was Akpanke that sent him.
“That man has not met Akpanke before and Police has taken his statement, we recorded part of the video where he was being interrogated by the Police in Ogoja.
“We have applied for the extra Judicial statement to show the Court that the person who did the killing has been arrested by the Police, the Police statement is very clear on who did the murder.
“I don’t know why the Police will be so unfair to themselves, they were present, the Area Commander was there on that day, they saw when the shooting was done and the governor decided to ask the Commissioner of Police to release the murderer and then pursue innocent persons for political considerations.
“So, it will be most unfair, and as a lawyer it will impinge on my sense of justice to sit back and see an innocent person standing trial while the people who committed the crime are walking down the street free because the governor is behind them.
“So, the governor should be made to produce the person whom the Police had arrested and committed the murder to go and stand his trial and leave the innocent people,”Ukweni, SAN stated.