The Cross River State Government has dragged the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Distinguish Senator John Owan-Enoh to court over the alleged murder of one Ayuk Ogar (M) and Tangban Obi Atu (M).
It would be recalled that DAILY POST had reported that at Bendeghe Ekim Village in Etung Local Government Area of Cross River State, during a peace meeting between members of the two major political parties in the area, APC and PDP, one Ayuk Ogar (M) and Tangban Obi Atu (M) were shot and killed by some suspected murderers.
The principal suspects, Agbor Mgbe Agbor (M) who shot and killed Ayuk Ogar (M) and others were Osawa-Ayi Amba (M) 22, Ojong Owan Ntokwa (M) 35 were arrested and paraded by the Police Command in the State.
Consequently, on Thursday July 11th 2019, the APC Governorship candidate, Senator John Owan-Enoh was charged to the High Court One Calabar, Presided over by Chief Judge of Cross River State, Justice Michael Edem on the alleged murder.
In the suit No HC/48C/2019, Senator Owan-Enoh was given a three-count charge. According to the charge sheet signed by the Director of Public Prosecution, Ministry of Justice, Cross River State, Gregory Okem, ESG, Count One stated: “ John Own Enoh on the 16th February 2019 at about 11.00hrs at Bendeghe in Etung local government did unlawfully kill one Ayuk Ogar.
Count two: “John Owan Enoh on the 16th of February 2019 at about 11.00hrs at Bendeghe, in Etung local government did unlawfully kill one Tangban Obi Atu.
Count three, “John Owan Enoh on the 16th of February 2019 at about 11.00hrs at Bendeghe in Etung local Government did attempt to unlawfully kill one Clinton Obin.”
Speaking in an interview with DAILY POST on Friday, the Counsel for Senator John Owan Enoh, Mba Ekpezu Ukweni, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said, “The matter came up on Thursday (July 10th 2019) and, since it’s already pending before the court, it is the court that will give a decision, I only express my opinion as to what was going on.
“When the matter came up, the accused person, Distinguished Senator, John Owan Enoh was not in court because he has not been served. Service is fundamental, so we entered appearance under protest.
“That the court cannot take any decision in respect of the matter against him, when he has not been served with the information. The matter was adjourned to 24th July, 2019 to ensure that service is effected on him.
“ He is not running away from being served but the proper procedure should be followed for him to be served and brought to court.
The SAN said that the matter was before the Chief Judge of Cross River State, Hon Justice Michael Edem’s Court, High Court One Calabar.
“Senator John Owan Enoh was the candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) in the last Governorship elections and he was aggrieved at the outcome of the elections and filed a petition before the Governorship elections tribunal set up for Cross River State.
“That is what I know, this issue of bringing a murder charge, I don’t understand that but that is for the court to decide. What I do understand is that, if somebody has done something, particularly in a criminal matter, there is no vicarious liability for crimes. If his followers have done something, criminal in nature, it is the person who committed the offence that should be held responsible, not him, he did not send any person to go and kill anybody.
“He wasn’t at the venue, he wasn’t near there, but those are the issues that will come up at the trial. My attention was drawn to the fact that the Director of Public Prosecution has applied to serve him by substituted means, by pasting it in his house at No 2 John Owan Enoh Close, off Odukpani Road by Global Drinks Hotel Ikot Ansa Calabar as well as making publication in National Daily in respect of it.
“The second option, I might say is not a proper thing to do. The man like I said is not running away from being served with the information. The bailiff went to his house in Abuja and he was not in the house but his aides were there.
“The security man confirmed that the man was not in the house but if you wait for a while, he will come, we have contacted him, he was coming but the bailiff couldn’t wait and decided to return to Calabar and put in a proof of service that he served it on the security man.
“When I called to confirm, I was told that the bailiff did not leave any copy there, of course the bailiff knows, that that wouldn’t have been a proper service of process of this nature, it has to be personal.
He explained that the Senator doesn’t know anything about what happened, “We suspect that it should be politically motivated which is not a proper thing to do, it doesn’t auger well, you don’t personalize governance, it’s not for any person who finds himself in a position of government to personalize it.
“We will look into other things, legal issues whether in the first place, the matter is properly before the Calabar Judicial Division of the High Court?” the SAN stated.