The trial of two Delta State-based Journalists, Joe Ogbodu, and Prince Amour Udemude, on Wednesday took a new twist after Udemude informed the court that he was forced by a police prosecutor, Theresa Okpor, to write a statement dictated by her.
The two journalists were arrested by the police from the Delta State criminal investigation department, (CID) in October, 2019, following a petition by one Sam Ogrih, alleging defamation and were arraigned for misdemeanour to wit defamatory at the Magistrate court four, sitting in Asaba, the state capital.
The journalists had in October, 2019 reported a bloody crisis by some youths codenamed “freedom fighters” at Uzere community, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state over N20 million largesse from the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) and allegations of the youth sponsorship by the former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia, and one Sam Ogrih which they had since debunked.
In his defence on Wednesday, during the continuation of the the case marked No CMA/425c/2019, between the Commissioner of Police vs Prince Amour Udemude and Joe Ogbodu, Udemude told the court that on that fateful day of his arrest to the police headquarters, the leader of the team and prosecutor, Theresa Okpor, forced him to write a statement she was dictating to him.
“I was bullied, threatened and intimidated by the police officer, Theresa Okpor, who was taking me statement, she forced me to write what she was dictating to me which I vehemently refused but she insisted that I must write her dictated statement or I will be thrown into the cell to languish. At a point she was forcing me to say the story was force that I was paid to tarnish the images of Ogomudia and Ogrih. Because of her resistance, I spent several hours in writing my statement.
“At a time when I said I was done, she took a look at the statement and insisted that I was not done, that I must continue and write all what she was telling me to write. She continues to bullied, threatened and intimidated me all through my statement.”
According to Udemude, who was being led in defence by his counsel, Chuks Ebu, his story was based on what the fleeing Uzere community indigenes told him concerning the bloody crisis in the community.
“The story was based on what the fleeing Uzere community indigenes told us. They alleged that the freedom fighters unleashing the mayhem in the community were being sponsored by the
former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia, and one Sam Ogrih. I don’t know Ogrih and Ogomudia, I have never met them before in all of my life. I sorted for their contacts and they were contacted for their own side of the story. And they both debunked the allegations of sponsoring the armed youths in the community and they even went ahead to thank me for deeming it fit to reach them for a balanced report. After few days, the next thing I saw from a petition of defamation from Ogrih.”
After the defence, the presiding magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, (Mrs), called on the plaintiff (Ogrih’s) counsel, M.A. Omakor, for cross-examination of the defendant, Udemude, but he said time may not permit him and the presiding magistrate, therefore adjourned the case till November, 23, 2022 for cross-examination.
SaharaReporters reliably gathered that the case had earlier been abandoned before the plaintiff’s counsel, M.A. Omakor applied to the state ministry of justice through a fiat to take over the prosecution of the case.
Currently, the police prosecutor, Theresa Okpor, who had abandoned the case is now standing as a witness in the case to the plaintiff.