Emeka King: Nigerian pastor granted bail, re-arrested

Nigerian police have re-arrested the general overseer of Christian Praying Assembly (CPA), Emeka Ezeugo, charged of attempted murder.

Ezeugo, alias Rev. King, was picked up at the Ebute Meta Magistrate Court a few minutes after he was granted bail by the court.

Before the General Overseer was re-arrested, he was arraigned on a four-count charge of attempted murder and setting seven of his church members ablaze.

The 40 year-old King was docked alongside two members of CPA, Donatus Chiazor (53) and Kelechi Chikere Queen (26).

Prosecuting police counsel, Williams Abass Ochogwu, said in charge F/74/2006, that on July 22, 2006, about 8.30a.m, at No. 6B, Canal View, Ajao Estate, Lagos, the three accused conspired to commit “attempted murder and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code”.


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Specifically, the prosecution said on the same day, time and place, the three accused attempted to murder Ann Uzoh King, Olisa Chiejina, Onuorah Chizoba, Uche Chukwu Iwoba, Vivian Ezeocha, Bunnia Olisa and Nwere Jessica.

Police added in the third count that the accused conspired and “poured a jerry can of petrol” on Ann Uzoh King before setting her ablaze, “with intent to main, disfigure or cause grievous injury to her”.

According to the prosecution, the accused also conspired and poured petrol on the seven victims and set them ablaze, an offence punishable with imprisonment under Section 338(1) of the Criminal Code.

All the accused pleaded not guilty.

Mike Okoye, leading six other lawyers for the accused, urged the court to grant them bail as the offence of attempted murder is a bailable offence and that they have credible sureties.

“There is a cardinal presumption of innocence as enshrined in the Constitution, that an accused person is presumed innocent before trial. The first accused person (King), holds himself as a man of God. The issue that led to the incident was a domestic issue which happened in a church,” Okoye said.

But Ochogwu opposed their bail. “My Lord, I have just been informed that one of the victims had died in the hospital where he was receiving treatment. This has changed the entire case, though we are not unmindful that the accused are here on a charge of attempted murder. All the victims are between life and death and I will want my lord to take judicial notice of this, much as I concede that bail is at the discretion of the court,” the prosecution said.

But Okoye faulted his argument. He said Ochogwu did not present any medical report or death certificate to back his claim that someone died.

“He knows very well that the issue of bail is restricted to the charge before the court. As a prosecutor, he has the right to amend the charge or bring a fresh charge at any point of the proceeding. The police are equally entitled to arrest or re-arrest him for any unimagined offence,” Okoye said.

Senior Magistrate granted the accused bail in the sum of N2 million ($15 603) each with two responsible sureties each in like sum. The sureties must be landed property owners within the jurisdiction of the court and they most produce evidence of gainful employment. The sureties must also be of the level of a director or an executive director in a reputable company.

Hearing in the case has been adjourned till August 18, 2006.

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