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A former deputy governor of Imo State, Engr Gerald Irona was on Thursday remanded at the Owerri Correctional Centre on the order of a magistrate court.
Irona, who was Chief Emeka Ihedioha’s deputy, was paraded before Magistrate C.N. Ezerioha yesterday on a three-count charge of felony, treason, and disruption of peace in the state.
The first charge was ‘that you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did conspire with others now at large, to commit felony to wit: treason and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(2) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”
The second charge was ‘That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did make several utterances to the effect that you will make Imo State ungovernable and immediately afterwards hoodlums levied several attacks on Imo State with intent to intimidate or overwhelm the governor of Imo State and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37 of the criminal code, cap, c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State’.
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While the third was ‘That you Hon Gerald Irona on the 15th day of January, 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, converted to your own use two land cruiser jeeps ( V8 and v6) and one Toyota Hilux vehicle valued four hundred and Ninety three million naira property of Imo State government thereby committed an offence punishable under section 390 ( 9) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo state.’
Counsel to Irona, Barr Stanley Imo applied for bail on self-recognition adding that the Oguta state lawmaker, Frank Ugboma was ready to stand surety for him.
However, the prosecution counsel, Sunday Ogbuji, opposed the bail application, saying that the magistrate lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The magistrate, Ezerioha ordered that Irona be remanded in custody because her court lacked the jurisdiction to hear matter because it bothered on felony.
She ordered that the prosecution counsel should provide all the documents to the defence counsel to enable them take next legal line of action.
Meanwhile, counsel to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Imo State chapter, Barr Kissinger Ikeokwu told newsmen that they are hopeful they will get bail before a high court.
He said that the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, was using state might to intimidate opposition leaders in the state.
It will be recalled that the police had on Wednesday arrested Irona at his Owerri residence, a development the state chapter of the PDP described as a plot to assassinate the immediate past deputy governor. The police refused to grant him bail on Wednesday, and arraigned him on Thursday.
Irona was the deputy governor of the state between May 29, 2019, and January 14, 2020, when the Supreme Court ordered that Emeka Ihedioha be removed as the governor of the state and Uzodinma be sworn in as the duly elected governor of the state