Court remands two for unlawful coronation in Edo
AN Oredo Magistrate Court has remanded one Rich Arisco Osemwingie and his brother, Patrick Osabuohien, in prison custody till September 29, 2015 for unlawful coronation of Osemwingie as the “Ogiamen of Utuantan Benin Nation” and addressing him His Royal Majesty (HRM) without approval of the Executive Council of Edo State. HRM is a title reserved only for the Oba of Benin.
The accused were arraigned on six-count charge of felony and misdemeanor before Chief Magistrate, Mrs. M.C. Ojobo.
They were alleged to have conspired on the 9th day of September 2015 at No. 97 Sakponba Road in Benin City “to commit the unlawful coronation, an offence punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal Code, Cap 48 Vol 11 laws of the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria 1976 now applicable in Edo State.”
The first accussed person was said to have allowed himself to be installed as His Royal Majesty, the Ogiamen of Utantan Benin Nation, a traditional ruler, as well as assumed the chieftaincy title when he is not a chief, without the approval of the Executive Council of Edo State, an offence punishable under Section 20(2)(b) and 26 (1)(a)(11) of the Traditional Ruler Chiefs Law of Bendel State.
The second accused person and others now at large were alleged to have carried out the said coronation without the approval of the Executive Council and thereby committed an offence punishable under Sections 20 (2)(a)(b), 26(2)(a) and 249 (d) of the criminal code. They however, pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Appearing for the accused persons, G.E. Oiakhena, who led H.O. Osatohanwen and three others, prayed for bail, saying his clients were gentlemen who could not jump bail. He cited Section 118 of the Criminal Procedure as well as Section 36(5) of the Nigerian constitution where bail was at the discretion of the court.
But the prayer was objected to by the state’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Henry Idahagbon who led a retinue of senior counsel from the ministry, describing the first accused person as a “man of considerable means who has the capacity to interfere in the investigation of the trial as others were still at large.”
He also told the court that the offence was tantamount to a traditional coup d’etat capable of causing a breach of peace, unrest and civil disorder in the society. He then urged the court to refuse the bail application. Subsequently, Magistrate Ojobo remanded them.
A palace chief, Osamede Adun; had last week cautioned the Ogiamens against bringing the name of the Benin monarch, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Erediauwa to disrepute by claiming to be a traditional ruler by their own right.