Monarch, 42 others acquitted over Rivers DPO’s murder


A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has discharged and acquitted a traditional ruler, Kelvin Anugwo, and 42 others standing trial for the murder of the late divisional police officer of the Ahoada East Division, Bako Angbashim.

The accused persons were standing trial on a four-count charge of cultism, armed robbery, murder, and conspiracy to commit murder.

Recall that over 50 persons were arrested and arraigned after SP Angbashim was abducted, killed and his body dismembered by a notorious cult leader, the late David Okpara, and his gang members in the Oduemude community in Ahoada East in September 2023.

When the matter came up in court on Friday, the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi, told the court that the accused persons had no prima facie case established against them and therefore had no case to answer.

The trial judge, Justice Sika Aprioku, relying on the advice from the office of the DPP, discharged and acquitted the accused persons.

Speaking with journalists outside the courtroom, counsel to the 37th defendant, Ekashie Emehi, said the ruling shows the accused were innocent and could go about their normal duties, expressing dismay that his client was arrested in the guise of an invitation.

Emehi stated, “He was arrested in the guise of an invitation that the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations wanted to see him and he was arrested.

“Now, as far as this matter is concerned, what it means by a prima face case not being established is that the persons are not connected to that case. So on that note, he is free and he has his full liberty to handle his affairs and would no more come back to this matter.”

Also speaking, Anugwo, who is the Eze Ekpeye Logbo III of Ahoada Kingdom, described the ruling as justice for the people of the area.

He said, “All the allegations leveled against us have been thrown out today. So we give God all the glory. Our victory today is hinged on the hands of God, not human beings.

“What it means is that the kingdom should be happy that today God has vindicated us, and as such they can be proud that they have a king that stands by the truth.”

Okpara, popularly known as 2baba, who was the prime suspect in the murder of the late DPO, was killed during a joint security raid in one of his hideouts in Idu-Ekpeye community in Ahoada East.

The wanted cult leader’s body was later exhumed from a shallow grave in a forest where his gang buried him and was paraded before newsmen at the state police command headquarters along Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, by the Commissioner of Police, Olatunji Disu, on February 23, 2024.


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