The judge said the four-count charge was only brought to harass the ACN candidate.
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday cleared the former governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, in the 2011 general elections in Akwa Ibom State, John Akpanudoedehe, of treason charges. The court also accused the Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio of harassing and intimidating the accused.
Mr. Akpabio had filed the suit against the former Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, accusing him and his associates of conspiracy to commit felony “by levying war on the governor in Ikot Ekpene and Uyo to intimidate and overawe the governor on 22 March, 2011” in the wake of the elections.
Mr. Akpabio, in his application, had claimed that on the said date, the ACN candidate allegedly shot severally at the governor and his entourage while on official duty in Uyo, the state capital, and Ikot Ekpene, the governor’s senatorial district.
However, in his ruling, Justice Adamu Bello dismissed the four-count charge for lack of evidence.
Mr. Bello ruled that in the absence of proof of evidence filed along with the four-count charge and failure to serve same on the accused, he had no option than to throw out the charges on the ground that noprimafacie case was established against the former Senator.
He further contended that the offence of treason, which the former Minister was accused of, could not be tried summarily as doing so would violate his constitutional right.
The judge pointed out that since Mr. Akpabio had failed to prove his case against the accused, the court had no evidence with which to prosecute the charge against him. Mr. Bello added that the charges were “only brought to harass and oppress the ACN governorship candidate.”
To prove his assertion, Mr. Bello said the Prosecuting Counsel to Mr. Akpabio had last appeared in court to pursue the matter on 28 February, 2012 and since then, had abandoned the case.
On that score, Mr. Bello said he had no option but to grant an order dismissing all the charges brought against Mr. Akapanudoedehe and accordingly, discharge and acquit him of the said offences before the court.
In his reaction after the judgment, the former ACN governorship candidate dedicated the outcome of the case to God and commended the uprightness of the court which he said was the last hope of Nigerians against oppression.