2015: Politician jailed for rape, lawyer flees, takes asylum in Germany

By SONI DANIEL, Regional Editor, North

ABUJA — Barely two weeks after he challenged the eligibility of President Goodluck Jonathan to stand election in 2015, the man, Mr. Cyriacus Njoku, has been arrested and sent to jail for alleged rape.

Similarly, his defence counsel, Mr. Ugochukwu Osuagwu, has fled the country with members of his family, alleging that he had been under constant threats of elimination by unknown persons.

Vanguard learnt that the man had been granted asylum by the German government so as to escape from his assailants, believed to be paid by political agents in high places.

He fled Nigeria on April 3, 2013, after taking refuge at German Embassy in Abuja for sometime, trying to escape from those he claimed were after his life for daring to defend Njoku, a freelance journalist and politician.

Njoku, a Peoples Democratic Party member, who had just appealed the judgement of Justice Oniyangi of the Federal High Court that Jonathan was qualified to run in the next election, was arrested by the police on Monday and taken to Suleja Prison, where he had been held under tight security.

The police claim he committed rape but did not give details of the offence, which was also hurriedly mentioned at the Suleja court, outside Abuja, where the offence was allegedly committed.

Sources told Vanguard that the man had been kept incommunicado since he was taken away by the security agents, raising fears he could be harmed.

As a result, many of his friends and acquaintances did not know of his predicament until he was able to smuggle a note out of the prison where he is held.

Findings show that neither his lawyers nor family members have been allowed to see Njoku, with the prison authorities claiming that they were under instructions not to allow anybody to see Mr. Njoku.

The detainee had maintained that even if President Jonathan won the election of 2015, he would have been constitutionally barred from taking another oath of office.

However, when the judge dismissed the case, he went on an appeal, which was yet to be heard before his arrest and detention by the security agents.

A constitutional lawyer said yesterday that Mr. Njoku’s appeal was considered dicey because the Supreme Court had in a previous decision (General Marwa vs. Murtala Nyako) concerning the tenure of some state governors, held that a governor could not  take oath of office more than twice by virtue of Sections 135 and 137 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Reacting to the development, the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, described it as a provocative action aimed at muzzling Nigerians.

CPC’s spokesman, Rotimi Fashakin, said Nigerians should rise against the renewed wave of onslaught by dictators against voices of dissent in the country.

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