An Okpanam Chief Magistrates’ Court in Delta had discharged and acquitted five members of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State chapter, who were accused of stealing and other offences.
Magistrate Chinedu Osuma discharged and acquitted them for lack of proof by the plaintiff that the accused committed the offences as contained in a certified true copy of the judgment obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the court.
The discharged and acquitted persons are: Adimujo Ugochukwu, Jemiriegbe Jonathan, Ejarogan Samson, Ekpah John Onyemechi and Joe Iyalekhue.
They had been arraigned on a four-count charge of felony, stealing, malicious damage and unlawful damage.
Osuma in his ruling said, “In view of the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses, I am satisfied that there is nothing placed before this court either by way of direct evidence or eye witness to the destruction or damage or anything circumstantial placed before me linking the accused persons to this charge.
“The prosecution being unable to identify the essential elements of the offences charge.
“I hold that none of the ingredients of the offences as described in the charges has been proved.
“I over rule the objection to the application and uphold the no-case submission.
“On the whole, the sole issue for determination is hereby resolved against the prosecution and in favour of the accused persons and so I hold.
“The accused persons are hereby discharged and acquitted of the four counts in the charge.
“The prosecution having failed to establish all the ingredients in each of the said counts in the charge.
“This is the ruling of this court.’’
Earlier during the proceeding, the prosecutor, Sgt. Alex Ibendiogwu had told the court that the accused persons stole blocks, trips of sand, trips of granite, shovels, wheel barrows, wooden pegs, ropes and 12 iron buckets.
The prosecutor said then that the goods valued at N35, 979, 300 belonged to NARZCO NIG. LTD.
Ibendiogwu had said then that the offences contravened Sections 516, 390(9) and 415 of the Criminal Code Cap C21 Vol 1, Laws of Delta, Nigeria, 2006, respectively.
The persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges then.