The Menace of Kidnapping in Nigeria: Credibility of the Federal Government & Judiciary On Trial

The Menace of Kidnapping in Nigeria: Credibility of the Federal Government & Judiciary On Trial in the current Ogbuawa Case in Anambra – only recently, the state of Anambra was to witness probably one of the most dramatic and most high profile kidnapping cases that Nigeria has ever seen, with the abduction for ransom of Elder Emmanuel Soludo, the 78 year old father of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in late October 2009


By Benjamin Anosike,  Ph.D. 

Alarmed by  the massive challenge on security posed by the pervasive wave of kidnapping in various parts of Nigeria, many states in the eastern front, for example, ranging from Abia to Anambra and Enugu, have revamped their methods and strategies on stemming the menace. They have convened, at the states’ Government Houses, countless number of meetings of their security teams (the State governors, Commissioners of Police, directors of the State Security Service (SSS), representatives of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Security and Defense Corps, the traditional rulers, etc) on effective measures and strategies. They have beefed up their funding on security matters, and provided more equipment, more communication gear, vehicles, and other tools of policing, to the state police command. They have even set up anew, in some states, vigilante groups, or revamped an existing one or augmented it. And some among the states have gone as far as passing laws prescribing the death sentence for offenders caught, prosecuted and convicted. 

Indeed, only recently, the state of Anambra was to witness probably one of the most dramatic and most high profile kidnapping cases that Nigeria has ever seen, with the abduction for ransom of Elder Emmanuel Soludo, the 78 year old father of Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, in late October 2009. 

Among other somewhat novel anti-kidnapping measures provoked by the Soludo kidnapping, was the deployment by the Inspector General of Police, Ogbonnaya Onovo, of a special police “anti-kidnapping squad” that was billed to track down kidnap syndicates terrorising citizens in the Anambra State area.

Furthermore, in Abuja the House of Representatives was reported to have commenced a move on October 29, to institute a term of  life sentence for kidnapping, as the members were reported to have “called on the Federal Government to take the issue of kidnapping very seriously as it portrays the country in a bad image.” 


Great! That’s all fine and dandy. But, in spite of all these grand efforts (and others), the upward tide of the twin menace of armed robbery and kidnapping in those states in the country where they’re endemic, has largely continued unarrested. Clearly, a crucial curious question is: WHY? 

One major school of thought among security experts, investigators and operatives, lays the problem squarely at the foot of the corrupt and corrupting role of the police and the courts and judiciary in the whole security combating process. More particularly, the common view is that the role of the courts and the judges and legal apparatus, are critical, even central and primary, in ultimately being able to crack the armed robbery and kidnapping menace.

The contention among these voices, is that, though as a body the Nigerian judiciary may not nearly be equated on the same level of corruption as the Nigerian police, the prevalence of corruption among a handful of unscrupulous judges in the judiciary constitute a major obstacle to making any substantial or permanent gains in the war against these most violent of crimes.

 “I advise you to shun corruption and corrupt practices, .as judicial officials, you are to live above board like Ceaser’s wife,” Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi, Chief Justice of Nigeria, told the newly appointed judges at the inauguration of new Federal High Court judges in July 2009, as he threatened, in recognition of the reality of corruption within the judiciary ranks, henceforth to invite Nigeria’s anti–corruption agencies to prosecute any corrupt judges uncovered. 


Perhaps, the critical “test case,” according to experts,  to look to as the broad barometric measure for the level of  seriousness,  commitment and sincerity,  of the Nigerian governments and law enforcement authorities, the Police and the courts and the judiciary, in combating these violent crimes, is likely to be played out in a now famous kidnapping case that long originated in Nnewi,  Anambra State, and which still remains pending today at Awka, its state capital. Considered by many to be the “grand daddy” of criminal kidnapping and extortion cases in Nigeria, for its international angle and its long duration and the uncommon array of twists and turns that it has gone through in its history, among other factors, this case, commonly known as the “Innoson three” case,  is best known for being a case involving one Mr. Pius O. Ogbuawa, a prominent, well connected, super wealthy Nnewi–based businessman.

Mr. Ogbuawa’s  involvement in the case borders on the fact that he has been variously arrested and released, then re–arrested and released, going back and forth, since about April 2007  to date, upon the serious criminal charge that he had been the financial mastermind who bankrolled the abduction of  two Chinese industrial experts, one of whom was later to be found to have died while in the kidnappers’ custody,  and one Nigerian, on the staff of the Innoson Company, a motor manufacturing company owned by an Nnewi industrialist and business rival –  an alleged involvement which has now become even more pivotal in recent months when, on May 29, 2009, the notorious gang leader of the criminal kidnapping gang, one Innocent Orji,  which had been the abductors of the Innoson group, was finally captured by the police, and who then had further implicated Pius Ogbuawa in the said Innoson kidnap incident. 




One lawyer familiar with the case put it this way, “As the Innoson case goes, especially as it relates to Ogbuawa, so goes, so will go the future cases of any kidnapping case that come before the police and the courts.” 

Fundamentally, the public worry about this case centers around the feeling that, but for Mr. Pius Ogbuawa’s formidable financial fortune, the Innoson kidnapping case, which has dragged on and on for well over 2 and half years now, with so many odd twists and turns, would have long been over. That the suspects (which now number 22, if you include Ogbuawa) would have, at least, long been put on trial by now, and the case long decided on its merits as to the actual guilt or innocence of the said suspects in the brutal kidnap incident. In deed, even worse, that pervasive public  worry is that Ogbuawa’s financial war chest seems ominously poised not only  to keep him out of prosecution and out of prison, but to free him permanently pretty soon, from any responsibility whatsoever in the case.

At the heart of the concern, is the long history of this case and the “many strange lives” that the case has lived, in the words of one newspaper report, much of it said to be essentially related to the fact that a man bearing the name PUIS OGBUAWA, is connected with the case. Mr. Ogbuawa, a flamboyant, mega wealthy Nnewi business man, was first arrested and held in detention in 2007 by the Nnewi Police upon a complaint brought by a fellow Nnewi business magnet, Mr. Innocent Chikwuma, the owner of a local manufacturing and trading company, Innoson Technical Co. Ltd, alleging that Puis Ogbuawa had something to do with the kidnapping of three members of his staff (two Chinese and one Nigerian) on 17th of March 2007. Thereupon, the police investigations turned up Mr. Ogbuawa, who himself had been a previous recent kidnap victim who reportedly had to pay his kidnappers some N20 million ransom to be released, as the man who had maintained close links with a militant group that abducted the victims. And Ogbuawa was then immediately arrested and detained. 

The Ogbuawa case has been repeated stalled, stopped,  then restarted, again and again and again, and thus has been excruciatingly prolonged and dragged out almost to no end –  a situation which, almost all observers have attributed to the formidable fortune that the Nnewi multi–millionaire has deployed in defense of himself in the case.   

First, while being held in detention the first time, Ogbuawa employed his high prized battery of lawyers to petition an Nnewi High Court for a declaratory judgment and an injunction to restrain the police from further detaining him, upon the ground that his arrest and detention, which he claimed was at the instigation of Mr. Innocent Chukwuma, was an unwarranted infringement of his fundamental rights under Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, and for compensatory damages award for the arrest and detention. Furthermore, according to averments filed with the Nnewi Court by the police commissioners and the investigators in the case, just when the preliminary police investigation was almost concluded, the Ogbuawa lawyers severally petitioned the police Assistant Inspector General of Zone 9, Umuahia, and the Federal High Court there, to take over the investigation or hearing of the case, alleging bias with the Nnewi authorities. 

Then, when the case of Ogbuwa’s petition before the Nnewi court came up for hearing, the trial judge, Justice Paul A.C. Obidigwe, however, roundly rejected the petition in his ruling of June 11the 2007 and sustained the detention, as he held that the facts and evidence presented before him were overwhelmingly compelling, such that Ogbuawa ought to be detained and not be granted bail. Thereupon, Ogbuawa was again remanded in the custody of the police and held in police detention at Abuja pending further investigations of the allegations. Next, later in June 2007,  a certain police officer, Mr. Kerian Dudari, the senior police officer at the Force CID headquarters, Abuja, in charge of the case, in a move that raised considerable public outcry and  suspicion of police graft and probable “compensation” of the police by Ogbuawa,  suddenly released Mr. Ogbuawa from detention and freed him from any prosecution, as he claimed that, according to him, he had found that Mr. Ogbuawa “has no case to answer on the issue, and so, there was no point keeping him there.”

Police authorities at Nnewi and Abuja loudly wondered how the Abuja senior police officer, Mr. Kerian Dudari, could have said that Ogbuawa had no case to answer despite the mountain of evidence in police and court files existing against him, and particularly the clear contradiction of that statement by Justice Obidigwe’s strong judgment. Thereupon, the next two years that have followed since then can best be said to have essentially been devoted by the Nnewi police to endless series of legal maneuvers and technicalities in a bid to counter the Ogbuawa lawyers and try keep the case for prosecuting Ogbuawa in the matter alive.  

The Ogbuawa case,  and the uncommon legal maneuverings attendant to it, have clearly been a source of public misgivings and discomforting jitters within many civil society and legal, judicial and criminal law enforcement circles, to say the least. “Our worry is that this dastardly act and those behind it may be swept under the carpet,” declared Rev. Father Anthony Amarube, the Director of the Centre for Victims of Extra–Judicial Killings and Torture (CVEKT), a major Nigerian civil society organization, in a July 2009 address.  Apparently alluding to the fact that of the 21 persons on the police list of the accused on the case, Mr. Ogbuawa has been the lone person who was not in police custody at the time,  Amaribe added that such concern is heightened by the fact that, “given that between 2007 and now, some of the people directly and indirectly involved in the commission of the crime are still working the streets [as] free men even as there seems to be sustained efforts to hijack this weighty criminal case..” According to the CVEKT Director, “Even charging those arrested by the police to court was reluctantly done, and the pace of the dispensation can better be described as snail pace.” 


The latest cause to provoke public misgivings and alarm, is the rather dramatic intervention of the federal might, by way of the Federal Attorney General’s Office, in the case. In a legal maneuver that was so sudden and unexpected late in the processing of particular case, given the mountain of evidence already in police files on the case – a maneuver clearly in favor of Mr. Ogbuawa –  that that  even two separate prosecuting counsels, one from the Federal Attorney General’s (FAG) office, and the other from the Anambra Police command, vehemently clashed and disagreed over the legal procedure ignited by the FAG intervention. In brief, what happened was that after all these months and even years of agonizing legal maneuverings whose sum effect has been to keep Ogbuawa out of court and out of any criminal prosecution by the police, the police ultimately prevailed (the court, in a ruling by the Nnewi High Court presided over by Justice Obidigwe, had finally vacated an earlier interim order that had been granted Ogbuawa for him to enforce his fundamental rights, thus clearing the ground finally for Ogbuawa to be arraigned in court); the police prosecutors had thereby promptly moved to proceed to the arraignment of the suspects in the case, including Ogbuawa,  finally. The Police prosecutors were all prepared, and on March 8, 2009, ASP B. Obiora Ejiofor, Esq. of  the Police Headquarters, Abuja, arraigned Pius P. Ogbuawa (and then 21 other suspects) at the Federal High Court, Awka, before Justice P.F. Olayiwola,  on three criminal counts –  conspiracy to commit treason, treason and concealment of treason. The Judge then adjourned the case. 

However, lo and behold, on the next day, a lawyer from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) office, Abuja,  Mr. S. Aliyu, representing the Federal Ministry of Justice and Federal Attorney General’s (FAG’s) office, Abuja, suddenly appeared before Justice Olayiwola and announced that, upon the request of Ogbuawa, he was now taking over the prosecution of the charge from the Police prosecuting attorney, Mr. B. Obiora Ejiofor, who had been handling it, and would be handling all matters relating to the case from then on.  Ogbuawa, it was learned, had complained to the FAG of Nigeria that, according to him, there was no evidence linking him with the Innoson kidnapping crime.  (Aliyu was later to hand over the case for direct day–to–day handling of the case at the Awka Federal HC, to Emeka Nwokolo of the DPP office, Enugu branch). In deed, the said DPP Aliyu, himself, had been the same Federal law officer who had appeared personally in an earlier case at the State High Court, Nnewi, before Justice Obidigwe, and applied for the withdrawal of the charge against Ogbuawa when it was then pending before that court. 



In his written (and oral) application later to the court while taking over the prosecution of the case, DPP Aliyu requested that the Federal High Court, Awka (to which the case had now been transferred and was now pending at that time) give him  additional time for the purpose, he said, of him  studying  the case file and records to determine whether there was sufficient evidence and legal basis to charge the case for prosecution. But that was not all, however! Even more worrisome in terms of the whole fate of this long-persisting case, a clearly pivotal test case in the potential direction of the future prosecution and punishment of ferocious criminals involved today in the heinous menace of kidnapping in Nigeria, were the following facts. First, that in his earlier application to the court (the one preceding this one, which had earlier held at the Anambra State High Court, Nnewi), Aliyu had then requested the court, as well, to have the whole case entirely struck down and dropped, and the accused persons completely discharged and freed; and, further,  that the accused persons should not only be discharged and be freed, but should NOT again be re–arrested! 

 That request, if granted, would have effectively removed Ogbuawa’s name (and probably those of his fellow 21 or so other accused persons, as well) from the charge sheet and ended any charge against him in the matter ever again for all intents and purposes! Fortunately for the Nnewi Police prosecutors, however, the presiding judge in that case, Justice Obidigwe, known to be a jurist with a wide reputation for judicial integrity and incorruptibility, refused DPP Aliyu’s request to make an order of discharging  the accused persons or an order that the accused persons not again be re-arrested. He only granted an order, however, permitting only that the charge be struck out for the moment. Thus, with that ruling, the police was able to continue with their investigation, and to arraign the accused persons in the case, including P. O. Ogbuawa, at the Federal High Court, Awka, presided over by Justice P.F. Olayiwola. Thereupon, with the case now transferred to the Federal High Court at Awka (under Nigerian law, the crime of treason, which is one of the counts against the accused in this case, is classified as a federal offense), DPP Mr. S. Aliyu now requested of Justice Olayiwola that he be granted extra time for him to study and review the case file to make his own independent determination as to whether or not to charge the case. The case was then adjourned by the Awka court, first to October 5, 2009, and now again to November 19th. 




Of great worry and concern, of course, and of great speculation, is what is likely to be the decision by the DPP upon his said review of the case files? To be sure, there are wide misgivings especially within the Anambra State government and public, and the civil society, the Nnewi and Anambra Police, and others, that the basic aim of taking over the case by Mr. Aliyu and his DPP law officers at Enugu and Abuja, is precisely to try remove Ogbuawa’s name from the crime charge sheet and thereby effectively end any legal liability or accountability whatsoever ever for Ogbuawa. To be sure, it is true, that deriving from the Nigerian Constitution, under Section 174 thereof, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), represented here by the DPP, has the power to take over or  to discontinue any criminal matter pending before any court, and in deed, at least in theoretical terms, this awesome power – more commonly known by lawyers as the nolie prosequi powers –  may be exercised by the AG under any guise or for any reason whatsoever, notwithstanding the evidence, and that it is not subject to any judicial review.

Clearly, as a practical matter, it is possible – just possible –  that the Federal AG, meaning his agents, the DPP office of Mr. Emeka Nwokolo and Mr. Silas Amon, of the Federal Ministry of Justice office Enugu, who are currently directly in charge of the case at Awka, or Mr. S. Aliyu of the DPP office of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Abuja, who is the superior of the Enugu DPP team, just might conceivably exercise the nolie prosequi, and decide that they’d rather discontinue or  terminate the case come the latest adjournment date of the case, November 19, 2009.  Quite possibly conceivable! However, I must respectfully venture to assert that, given all the unusual, in deed, unique, set of facts and circumstances involved in this case, such outcome is, in my humble assessment, patently quite unlikely. Certainly, it would be the most perplexing, if shocking, thing to most people familiar with the case, if that were to happen! 



To begin with, there’s simply an unusually uncommon mountain of evidence already amassed in the case against the accused persons, all strongly favoring, even crying, for the prosecution of the case. HERE, THIS IS A MOST IMPORTANT POINT OF LAW YOU MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND: bear in mind that what is at issue here, is NOT whether Ogbuawa or any single one of the other 21 or so accused persons in this case is deserving of being convicted or should be found guilty. It is NOT whether these persons (each or any one of them) have sufficient evidence against them warranting that they ought to be adjudged or pronounced “guilty,” or even “innocent,” in the case. Rather, the only matter at issue here right now in this stage of the case, is whether, based on the evidence currently in the court and police files, such evidence is enough such that it reasonably warrants that these accused persons ought then to go before a judge right now, to be then legally and judicially TRIED on the basis of whatever other evidence that might be available to now determine their actual guilt or innocence in the charge. 

Put another way, in a criminal case of this nature, there are essentially TWO phases: the first phase is the ARRAIGNMENT phase (this is the current phase confronting the DPP), and the second phase, is the TRIAL phase. 

Under the law, in the arraignment phase of the case (the phase that the DPP and others are involved in right now), the “burden of proof” (that is, the amount or standard of evidence) that is required of the criminal investigator or prosecutor, such as the DPP officers, in this case, to meet, that would legally be sufficient to warrant charging a case to court for a trial, is said to require a “low threshold.” Here’s the relevant point about this: the “threshold” required for DPP Aliyu or  any other the criminal investigator or investigator to meet this standard of proof or evidence, is VERY LOW and readily easy to meet.  

In fact, the standard of proof called for here, is very similar to that which falls under the rubric of “probable cause” standard used under the United States jurisprudence used by grand juries merely to determine whether to issue an indictment against an accused or a suspect – meaning whether to charge (as in the matter presently confronting the DPP in the Innoson case) an accusation to court for trial. In the American criminal context, the U.S. Supreme Court in the United States v. Sokolow, 90 U.S. 1 (1989), determined that the PROBABLE CAUSE standard only requires “a fair probability that contraband or evidence of a crime will be found.” And just to give you an idea of just how LOW this standard of evidence really is, though the U.S. courts vary in how they determine what constitutes a “fair probability,” many use 30 percent, others 40 percent, and others 51 percent!   

Given the above extremely LOW “threshold” standard of evidence required, under law, to warrant institution of the criminal arraignment of a suspect or an accused, the question that immediately comes to mind, is WHY, AT ALL, WAS IT EVEN NECESSARY OR WARRANTED THAT THE DPP Mr. ALIYU AND HIS COLLEAGUES WOULD EVEN SEEK ANOTHER FRESH “REVIEW” OF THIS CASE? 


In deed, in point of fact, upon a close scrutiny, the unusually huge mountain of evidence already amassed in this case and residing in the police files,  seem already preponderant, if not overwhelming. So much so that the rather LOWLY standard of “prima facie” evidence required to warrant permitting an arraignment for a case to go for a trial before an impartial judge for trial,  seem to have been well met, or even surpassed in the instant case in question. Remember the basic charge against Mr. Ogbuawa?  Simply that he has been, or might have been, involved as a mastermind, directly or indirectly, in the kidnapping of some three persons abducted in the March 2007 Innoson kidnapping case.  And that’s all!

Certainly, since that fateful March 2007 event, the investigations by the police have turned up an array of evidence, much of it quite direct and incriminating, linking Ogbuawa to the incident and to the criminals who perpetrated the abduction. In the case before Justice P.A.C. Obidigwe of the State High Court, Nnewi, for example, the following had been established, among others.  1) A print-out from Mobile phone company showing a trend of telephone communications between Mr. Ogbuawa and the kidnappers shortly before, as well as after, the victims were abducted; 2) evidence that Ogbuawa, who is a major motorcycle importer, made a donation of 5 brand new motorcycles to the kidnappers, a move which Ogbuawa himself directly admitted but claimed was part of the condition for his release by the kidnappers after his own abduction.

And, directly from  the ruling of Justice  Obidigwe of June 11th 2007,  we find, already,  that Ogbuawa “admitted or did not deny” a great deal of incriminating evidence. Evidence such as the  following: a)  that the Innoson kidnappers “dressed in military uniforms visited him with a Mitsubishi L 300 bus in his home at Nnewi,”  b) that his “in law, one Mr. Okechukwu, was one of those who kidnapped” the Innoson kidnap victims; c) that Ogbuawa advised Sylvester Unigwe’s (one of the Innoson kidnap victims) wife to phone the Innoson Director and ask that he gave the kidnappers any amount they demanded; and d) that he was the one who had given the name Ugochukwu Iloka, a prominent local businessman, to the kidnappers as a good prospect for them to abduct and/or demand ransom from, among others. 

And with all these, the lowly standard of “prima facie” evidence required to warrant a simple matter of court arraignment, has not been met!?  Or, long surpassed!? 



Still, that’s not even all. There’s still MORE evidence that has since further developed post those events. Since the above-described developments, there has developed yet one momentous event whose net result has been to produce yet another new explosion of a bonanza of evidence on the case. In particular, on May 29th 2009, the fearsome leader of the criminal gang that kidnapped the “Innoson three,” who goes by the name Innocent Orji, was finally apprehended by the police, finally ending a 2 years and 2 months state and regional police man hunt. In terms of its significance to the Ogbuawa case at hand, simply suffice it to say that virtually nothing could have done more as to further catapult the quantum of evidence already in police files against the accused persons to a new stratospheric, even unassailable, level, or done more in further corroborating the preexisting evidence and cementing its credibility for prosecutorial purposes. From several press accounts on the matter, most of which are well confirmed, since the capture of the gang leader Innocent Orji, he has made many damning confessions and bombshell revelations (most, if not all, of them on tape and video) asserting Obguawa’s direct role and involvement in the whole Innoson three kidnap event, roundly corroborating key elements of the allegations and evidences pre-existing on the official record against him.

He directly implicates Mr. PIUS O. OGBUAWA, and links him to the gang’s financing and actions in the Innoson three kidnap incident. He has confirmed, directly, as a principal in the events, many of the matters that previously were merely allegations and charges, even if strong ones,  and has vitally “filled in the holes” in the pre–existing body of evidence on certain key details in the kidnapping or the alleged Ogbuawa involvement. He has, for example, confirmed or corroborated,  that his gang was, in deed, the group that was responsible for the kidnap of the now famous “Innoson three,” that the second Chinese victim of the kidnap had died in the gang’s custody, and definitively identified where exactly he had been buried, that Ogbuawa was, in deed, a major financial patron of his gang,  and had, in deed, at one time provided his gang a list of 7 other fellow-multi-millionaire businessmen in Nnewi (which included the Chairman of the Innoson company, among others) that he had advised them to abduct, that his criminal gang was in fact the group that had the entire South-east of Nigeria under virtual criminal siege in the 26 months period before his capture in the orgy of criminal kidnapping and extortion that then prevailed, that Mr. Ikechukwu (Nwachukwu), Mr. Ogbuawa’s in–law, was in fact a member of his extortion gang, etc., etc 


What emerges, upon reasonable examination of the facts, is that, in fact, the evidence is clear and unambiguous that there is far, far more than sufficient evidence amassed and ALREADY sitting in the police and court files at least to arraign (indict) Ogbuawa and his follow suspects for a trial on the charge. That, in deed, that question (the issue of sufficiency of evidence to warrant a charge of the case to arraignment) has not really been the issue in earnest in this whole case. That, in fact, as one keen observer of the case, an Anambra columnist who has followed this case very closely for long, Mr. Mike Okongwu, summed it up,  the real issue has probably been: “With all these damning allegations against him, if Ogbuawa was a man of little means, would he be walking about so freely  [today]. Does the law apply differently for different folks.”? 

Are the Nigerian authorities, from President Umaru Yar’Ardua, to Attorney General Michael Aondoaka, and Police boss Ogbonna Onovo, really, really honest and SERIOUS about fighting the Number One violent crime of Nigeria today – the brutal menace of armed robbery, kidnapping and extortion? The recent lamentation in July 2009 of Farida Waziri, the Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), about the slow impact of the work of her office on the war against corruption in Nigeria, and the fact that the existence of a considerable dose of corruption in the Nigerian judiciary seems to be a major factor in not recording dramatic improvements in the nation’s corruption situation, seems immediately to fit so well here. “The effect [of the kind of efforts that an agency like the EFCC makes] is felt only when a man has been sentenced and you see him being taken into prison and he gets to prison and people see it,” Waziri says.  But, Waziri adds, that in stead, what you often see, though, in Nigeria are “people taken to court and they are smiling and waving as if they are political heroes. Meanwhile they are being arraigned for criminal cases and they are waiving like Mandela.” 

In summary, true, as a practical and constitutional matter, the DPPs and the Federal AG office involved in the current Ogbuawa case technically have the power under the constitutional doctrine of nolie presequi, possibly to discontinue the current Innoson kidnapping case.  So the letter and text of the Constitution reads under Section 174 thereof! However, properly put in its proper context, this must be clearly but emphatically noted, too.  That,  a major PROVISO of that clause, under subsection (3) therein, is that the Attorney General, “in exercising his powers under this section, …shall have regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.” (underlining by the writer).



To be sure, nationally, the Yar’Ardua Administration has severally signaled that seriously combating the grave twin crimes of armed robbery and kidnapping, whether by the militants in the Niger Delta, or by professional armed robbers in Anambra state or other states, are its top present national security priority. As for this humble writer, I want, respectfully, to believe, as a patriotic and genuinely interested Nigerian who wants to believe in the current Nigerian leadership, ranging from  Umaru Yar’Ardua, to Federal Attorney General Michael Aondoaka, and the new Police Inspector General Ogbonna Onovo, and others, that all actual “public officers” of the Nigerian nation, such as Mr. S. Aliyu of the Abuja DPP office, and Messrs Emeka Okolo and Silas Amon of the Enugu DPP office, or any others in like position in Nigeria, are  brutally genuine and serious when they proclaim that they are  actually serious about combating, and actually defeating, this most devastating of all violent crimes, the menace of armed robbery and kidnapping. I want to believe that these men (and women) of the DPP office, will work dedicatedly in this case only in a way that would give due “regard to the public interest, the interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process,” of the Anambra and Nigerian public, as commanded by the Nigerian Constitution! 

First, we awaited the October 5th 2009 date, first set for the DPP office to make its determination known about the fate of the case. Now, we await November 19th, the new court date to which the case is now currently adjourned at the Federal High Court, Awka, in Anambra State, before Justice P.F. Olayiwola. 

Thank you.

Benjamin Anosike, Ph.D.

The writer, who writes from New York, USA, is the author of dozens of legal texts on mostly topics of American law (and literally a countless number of articles), and an acclaimed legal scholar and expert, frequent writer and commentator on political, economic, social and legal issues.