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Lawyer Exonerates Delta DPP Of Misconduct



Lawyer Exonerates Delta DPP Of Misconduct

By Onoriode Etatsemi.

Mr. J.H. Ijeoma, a distinguished legal practitioner based in Obiaruku, has exonerated Mr. Anthony Orhorhoro, the Delta State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), from allegations that he granted bail pending appeal to Chief (Engr) Fidelis Ishie, the President General of Ebedei in Ukwuani Local Government Area of Delta State.

These allegations had been reported by some online media platforms.

Speaking to newsmen at Obiaruku, headquarters of the Ukwuani Local Government Area, Mr. Ijeoma clarified that it was the court, not the DPP, that granted bail to Chief Ishie.

He emphasized that Mr. Orhorhoro was not acting as counsel for the defendant but was present in court due to a petition directed to the Honorable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who had ordered for a state review of the matter.

“The DPP is unjustly being criticized by Chief Benson Oyemogum, whose desperation to see Chief Ishie remain in custody is quite evident,” Mr. Ijeoma stated.

He condemned the circumstances surrounding Chief Ishie’s conviction by Magistrate Court 2 in Obiaruku, describing it as a grave injustice.

Mr. Ijeoma urged the public to dismiss the allegations made by Chief Benson Oyemogum, asserting that Mr. Orhorhoro had committed no wrongdoing.

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He highlighted Section 211 (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which empowers the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to oversee criminal proceedings in all state courts, except for marshal courts.

“I moved the motion for bail for my client, Chief Fidelix Ishie, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal, and it was Magistrate I.B. Showari who granted the bail,”

Mr. Ijeoma noted, refuting claims that the DPP had never misused his official powers.

During the court proceedings on May 14, 2024, Mr. Ijeoma recounted that the DPP had appropriately responded to the magistrate’s inquiries about Section 211 of the Constitution.

He emphasized that the Attorney General of Delta State, or Officer of his Department, in exercising his duties, must consider public interest, justice, and the need to prevent abuse of legal process, with particular reference to the application pending before the Court.

Addressing the genesis of the case, Mr. Ijeoma explained that Chief Benson Oyemogum was ostracized by the Ebedei community for allegedly disrespecting the Okpara-Uku and the council of chiefs by ignoring their summons.

The decision of the Community he said, was announced by the community town criers to the effect that Oyemogun remained ostracized by the community, adding that his client published the decision reached by the Ebedei council of Chiefs in the community’s WhatsApp platform, which led Chief Oyemogum to petition the police, resulting in charges of false publication against Chief Ishie.

Initially, Chief Ishie was acquitted by Chief Magistrate Grade I, Mr. C. Onoyase, at the Magistrate Court in Obiaruku.

However, the prosecution appealed to the High Court of Justice in Umunede, which ordered a retrial by Magistrate I.B. Showari, leading to Chief Ishie’s conviction.

Mr. Ijeoma expressed his dissatisfaction with the handling of the case, noting that “I appealed against the judgment as my client was treated like a common criminal and bundled into a van with hands chained and moved from Obiaruku to Agbor Correctional Center”.

He further disclosed that when he applied for stay of proceedings pending the hearing of the Appeal, the nominal complainant insisted that the matter must go on, citing the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Delta State, saying that there is no provision for stay of execution.

Mr. Ijeoma explained to the court that his client’s right of appeal is a constitutional matter, and that he was relying on the defence of justification. However, he was overruled by the Court.

In conclusion, Mr. Ijeoma affirmed that his appeal against the conviction stands, asserting his client’s right to fair judicial process and reiterating that the DPP’s actions were within legal bounds, devoid of any misconduct.


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