Chief Magistrate in Benin, M.C. Ojobo, yesterday granted the prayers in the bail application of HRM, Rich Arisco Osemwingie, the Ogiamien of Utantan Benin nation and Patrick Osabuohien in the sum of N100,000 each with two sureties in like sum.
The Court also ruled that the two sureties should be residents within the Magisterial District of which one of them should be a serving Permanent Secretary in the State and a traditional ruler within the Benin Kingdom.
The ruling on the bail application in Charge No MOR/148C/2015 came up yesterday upon the submission by the accused persons’ defence Counsel, G.E. Oiakhena and that of the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice, Hon Henry Idahagbon who took over the prosecution of the criminal case.
It would be recalled that the 1st accused person, HRH Rich Arisco Osemwingie, a businessman in Benin City, alongside his brother, Patrick Osabuohien, were remanded in prison custody a forthright ago for allowing himself to be coronated unlawfully as His Royal Majesty, Ogiamen of Utantan in Benin Nation.
In the six-count charge, the accused persons (Rich Arisco Osemwengie and Patrick Osabuohien) were alleged to have
conspired together 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 1st accused 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 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-ship Law of Bendel State, adding that the 2nd accused person (Patrick Osabuohien) and others now at large 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 any of the count charges.
Appearing for the accused persons, G.E. Oiakhena, who led H.O. Osatohanwen and three others, prayed the court to grant bail as clients were gentlemen who could not jump bail. He cited Section 118 of the Criminal Procedure, as well as Section 36(5) of the Nigeria Constitution where bail was at the discretion of the court.
In apparent objection, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Edo state, Hon Henry Idahagbon leading a retinue of Senior Counsel of the Justice Ministry described the 1st accused person as man of considerable means who has the capacity to interfere in the investigation of the trial as others were still at large.