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Wife of former state secretary slumps while being arraigned in court



Wife of former Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Chief Fidelis Mbam, Mrs Joy Mbam, on Friday, slumped inside a Magistrate court sitting in Abakaliki, the state capital.

The suspect, Mrs Joy Mbam, was arraigned by the Police on Friday, over properties’ meddling and her husband’s death.

Chief Fidelis Mbam died on 23rd of April, 2018 and his second wife, Joy was accused by children of her co-wife of being responsible for his death, aside forging documents to claim the properties of the deceased alone.

However, Mrs Mbam, the accused, on arraignment on Friday, fell down and hit her head on the ground, while trying to enter the dock, having stepped on a dilapidated section of the dock, which was made of plywood.

The Chief Magistrate, Chinedu Agama, rose from his seat and ended the court proceedings abruptly while lawyers, policemen, community women and some other
affected persons in court, carried the woman up, having laid on the ground for about 15 minutes.

Continuing the arraignment, the Police Prosecutor, Innocent Agoye, told the court that the suspect was arraigned on two counts of murder and forgery.

The offence, according to Agoye, was punishable under section 316 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.

The Defense Counsel, Nwakpu Nwode, however, raised an objection on count, one which bordered on murder.

According to him, section 316, which she was charged with, provided for the definition of murder and did not proffer punishment.

“We are opposed to the strength of section 316 to infer murder generally. The same section 316 has no punishment section. We pray your worship to discountenance section 316 and strike the charge out,” he said.

But the prosecution Counsel disagreed stressing that the section equally provided for punishment for the crime.

In his ruling, the Chief Magistrate, Chinedu Agama, aligned with the Defense Prosecution that the said section was ambiguous and accordingly struck out the first count.

Thereafter, the second count charge was read to the defendant after which she pleaded not guilty.

On the strength of this, the Defense Counsel applied to the court that his client be admitted to bail, on lenient terms, which the Prosecuting Counsel did not further oppose.

Agama granted the accused bail in the sum of N100,000.00 l, with one surety in like sum, who must be resident within the jurisdiction of the court and be a senior civil servant of Ebonyi State origin.

He adjourned the matter till February 18, 2020, for hearing.