Akwa Ibom State High Court1, sitting in Ikot Ekpene has fixed July 12, 2021 to deliver its ruling on the bail application filed by Professor Peter Ogban, of the University of Calabar, UNICAL, Cross River State who was jailed three years for electoral fraud, pending the determination of his case by Court of Appeal.
Justice Pius Idiong fixed the date after taking arguments from Ogban’s team of Lawyer’s led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) and INEC team of lawyers led by Clement Onwuenwunor at the hearing of the bail application on Thursday.
Professor Ogban, who is in custody at the Federal Correctional centre, Ikot Ekpene, had on June 17, 2021, through his Lawyers applied for bail pending Appeal against his conviction, which was supported by 16-paragraphs affidavit.
At the hearing of the bail request, the applicant’s Lawyer, Chief Agabi, told the court that his client’s request for bail was filed based on Health grounds as stated in paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 of the affidavit.
Agabi who told the Court that the medical report tendered as Exhibit A3, issued by a General Hospital of Akwa Ibom State Government and made by an expert indicates that his Client had been hypertensive for 10years and therefore deserves proper treatment outside the walls of the correctional service.
He appealed to the court to show mercy and exercise its discretion in favour of the applicant stressing, “This application is about the exercise of discretion”
But INEC through its Lawyer, Onwuenwunor urged the court to ‘disallow’ the bail request, insisting that the applicant must first prove exceptional circumstance or unusual reason why the Court should exercise discretion in his favour.
Onwuenwunor who explained that in opposition to the bail request they had filed a 21 paragraph counter- affidavit, argued that the fact that the applicant request for bail lacks merit since his medical record shows that notwithstanding that he is in custody, the authorities arrange his treatment where he had been treated for the past 10years
Recall that the UNICAL Professor of Soil Science, served as Collation/ Returning officer during the 2019 National Assembly elections and was found guilty of manipulating and falsifying the scores of election results in Oruk Anam and Etim Ekpo local government areas in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party.
Professor Ogban was arraigned before the State High Court, Ikot Ekpene on December 15, 2020 and Sentenced for three years imprisonment in Charge no: HT/29C/ 2020
with no option of fine in Count 2 and a fine of one Hundred thousand naira (100,000.00) in count 1.
He had pleaded not guilty to each of the two count charges.