The hearing on defamatory charges against the Managing Editor of BIGPEN Online newspaper, Joe Ogbodu, and another journalist in Delta State, Prince Amour Udemude, will resume tomorrow, Monday, January, 6, 2020, at the magistrate court 5, Asaba, the state capital.
The case which was adjourned till November, 12, 2019, was stalled following the absence of the trial magistrate, B.N. Anumadu, who was on her annual leave, and the case adjourned till January, 6, 2020.
It would be recalled that, October, 24, 2019, the two Journalists were arraigned by the Delta state police command, following a report of one Sam Ogrih, allegedly funding and sponsoring of some armed Uzere community youth with the codename “Freedom Fighters” who unleashed mayhem on the community over N20 million oil largesse gifted the community by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
According to the report, some community sources who fled the town at the wake of the mayhem caused by the armed community youth with codename”freedom fighters”, had alleged that Sam Ogrih, was the one funding and sponsoring the armed youths terrorising the area with guns, battle axe and cutlasses.
Though, Ogrih, had since denied any involvement in the alleged funding and sponsoring of the armed youth unleashing mayhem in the community.
The two journalists who were charged for misdemeanor to wit defamatory had earlier after listening to the five-count charge, pleaded not guilty and their counsels, Chuks Ebu and Lawrence Obiorah, applied for their bail and the Presiding Magistrate of the court, B.N. Anumadu, granted the journalists bail and the case adjourned till November 12, 2019 for hearing.
On Tuesday, November, 12, on arrival at the Magistrate Court 5 Asaba for the hearing of the case, a staff of the court who was later identified as the registrar, had announced to everyone including Journalists who besieged the court in solidarity with their colleagues, that the court was on annual leave as such the court will not seat, and the case adjourned till January, 6, 2020.
Warri based human rights lawyers, Casey Omo-Irabor, Maxwell Ogedegbe and Asaba based lawyer, Chuks Ebu and other lawyers are offering pro bono services to the two Journalists.
Meanwhile, our correspondent, reliably gathered that, the oil rich warring Uzere community has not known peace as the armed so called “freedom fighters”, have continued to unleash terror in the community targeted at their perceived enemies to their sponsors.
About two weeks ago, it was gathered that buildings and other properties belonging to a faction in the community were burnt to ashes by the ” freedom fighters”, and following the development, chairman of the Isoko South local government area of the state, Itiako Ikpokpo, has proscribed all youth bodies and activities in the community till further notice.