Rivers Re-run: DSS Arraigns SSG, APC Chieftain Over Misconduct
The Department of State Services, DSS, yesterday arraigned the Secretary to Rivers State Government, SSG, Mr Kenneth Kobani and a chieftain of All Progressives Congress, APC, Mr Azubuike Wanjoku, before a Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, over alleged conducts during the last re-run elections in the state that constituted threats to public peace.
The SSG, Mr Kobani and others now at large were, among others, charged with alleged offences punishable under the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011. Kobani pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge read to him.
The charges read in part: ”That you Kenneth Kobani, with others at large, on or about March 3, 2016, at a meeting held in your residence at Bodo community, Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State, did conspire to carry out activities that could cause a breach of the peace and break down of law and order on March 19, 2016, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act.
Count two: “That you, Kobani, and others at large, on or about March 19, 2016, at the premises of INEC office, Gokana LGA, within the jurisdiction of this court, did conduct yourself in a manner that caused a breach of the peace by leading and instructing your followers to barricade the entrance of the INEC office, prevented officials of the commission and other ad-hoc staff from discharging their duties and causing stampede in the vicinity, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 249 d of the Criminal Code.”
Count three: “That on or about March 19, 2016 at the premises of INEC office, Gokana LGA, within the jurisdiction of this court, you did hold Mr James Simon, an official of the commission and other ad-hoc staff hostage until their eventual rescue by security personnel, thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 11 of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011.”
Kobani pleaded not guilty to all the counts. Trial judge, Justice Liman Mohammed, later granted him bail on self recognition and adjourned the matter to June 15 for hearing. Kobani is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the state.
On his part, Wanjoku, who was the APC candidate for Ikwerre state House of Assembly constituency seat in the re-run election, was charged for alleged false accusation of the Ikwerre INEC Electoral Officer, Mr Kingsley Osifu, of collecting some amount of money from him to disrupt public order and security, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code.
The second count said the conduct of Wanjoku allegedly obstructed the public officer from discharging his official duty, an act punishable under the criminal code.
The third count alleged that Wanjoku threatened to forcefully demand refund of the said money from the INEC officer and thereby committed an offence contrary to the criminal code. He pleaded not guilty.
Justice Liman granted him bail in the sum of N500,000, ordering that he should get a senior civil servant to sign surety for him. The court also ordered that he be remanded in prison custody till the bail condition was met.