By Daniel Dafe
An indigene of Abraka in Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State, Ovedje Otavwehoho Okotie also known and addressed as Johnson Ovedje Okotie, aged 53, also a member of the popular Okotie family in the said community, has been handed a five-month jail term for giving false allegation of kidnapping, attempted armed robbery, conspiracy and assault.
Delivering judgment on the 17th of January, 2020 in a case with Charge No.: MAB/65C/2018 at the Magistrate’s Court, Abraka, Delta State between: Commissioner of Police Vs Mr. Ovedje Otavwehoho, the Chief Magistrate of the court, C.E. Onoyanse Esq, handed the five months prison sentence on Ovedje, who is to serve a month each on 5 counts.
Okotie family is said to be the owners of a land in Okotie River Road that was on rent by Chevron Oil Company that was used as a beach, Chevron Beach, Okotie Village, Abraka, for a long time before family members started managing it after it was abandoned by Chevron.
According to family sources, Ovedje tried to forcefully take over the management of the beach after the death of Oghenesuvwe Okotie who before his demise was in charge of the beach, saying that some family members objected to this demand by Ovedje, as they called on him to wait till the rent of the deceased expires on the 10th of July, 2018.
In order to achieve his goal, contrary to the decision of the family, Ovedje adopted the strategy of using force and even involved police officers from Zone 5 of the Nigeria Police Force, Benin after he, through a legal practitioner, O.E. Erakpoyovwike Esq, wrote a petition dated: June 12, 2018, to the Assistant Inspector General of Police, of the said zone, through the Tactical Operation Squad (TOS), Asaba, alleging that some of his close relatives, Matthew Okotie, Erhiga Okotie, Christian Akporowovwo Okotie and Mr. Oghenechovwe Adjuya Okotie conspired against him and assaulted, attempted to kidnap and robbed him of the sum of Four Hundred Thousand Naira.
This, he did to get rid of key persons that stood on his way to take over the management of the beach.
Police investigation by the TOS of the petition written by Ovedje, eventually showed that the allegations were false.
The TOC after their findings said: “The complainant (Ovedje) wants to use the apparatus of the law to remand his brothers in prison custody for self gain” and thus recommended that he be charged to court for giving false information.
By the judgment, Ovedje will be remanded in Sapele Federal Prisons and will be there for the next five months.
Information made available to Oasis Magazine (OM) showed that he was given an option of fine in the sum of Three Hundred Thousand Naira.
Some members of the Okotie family were seen dancing around town immediately after the sentence was handed him (Ovedje) in court.
Reacting to the development, the lawyers of the victims, Barristers Tayo Ibrahim and Kerry Imoni-Ogbe, said that they were impressed by the professionalism of the police during their investigation, adding that if not for the thorough job by the security operatives, their clients would have been sent to prison for no reason.
Ibrahim commended CSP Franklin Akanonu, Commander, Tactical Operation, Zone 5 of Nigeria Police Force, Sgt. Michael Udemba, Investigation Police Officer and Inspector Godwin Okoro, Prosecutor.