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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Court Permits Rochas Okorocha to Travel Abroad for Medical Treatment

A Federal High Court in Abuja approved Sen. Rochas Okorocha request for an injunction allowing him permission to go to the United States for medical treatment.  

After Ola Olanipekun, SAN, Okorocha’s attorney, filed the application in that direction. Justice Inyang Ekwo granted the order but issued a warning to the legislator about failing to attend at the next adjourned date.  

According to news sources, Okorocha, who represents the Imo West Senatorial District, presented the application to the court on Thursday.  

When the case was brought before Justice Ekwo, Okorocha made this known through his attorney, Daniel Alumun.  

Alumun, however, informed the court, shortly when the case was called, that he was unable to serve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the complainant/respondent, with the motion. 

Justice Ekwo consequently adjourned the matter until today for hearing of the motion. 

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Upon resumed hearing, Okorocha’s counsel, Olanipekun, told the court that he had a motion on notice marked: FHC /ABJ/CS/28/2022 dated June 22 and filed June 27. 

The lawyer said the motion sought for an order granting the applicant (Okorocha) leave to travel outside Nigeria for medical treatment; and return before Nov. 7, is the next adjourned date for his trial. 

But the EFCC’s lawyer, Chile Okoroma, who is Director of Legal Services for the agency, opposed the request. 

He explained how the applicant flouted the earlier administrative bail granted him by the anti-corruption agency. 

He said he took the agency about six months after the matter was filed to bring the applicant before the court. 

Okoroma, who said Okorocha is a flight-risk, said if allowed to travel abroad, the lawmaker would jump bail. 

The judge, however, said that since Okorocha had appeared in court, arraigned and the trial commenced, everyone should look forward to the future development. 

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“I am going to grant this application. But if I grant this application and the defendant fails to appear in the next adjourned date, I will make an order declaring him wanted,” the judge said. 

Okoroma, who said he was satisfied with Justice Ekwo’s intervention, withdrew all his initial grounds for opposing the application. 

Ruling, Justice Ekwo said that he was of the opinion that the application granted because it was on medical grounds. 

He held that this would afford the applicant the opportunity to stand his trial. 

“Upon perusing the prayers by the applicant and the averments in the counter affidavit of the respondent, I am of the opinion that this application granted because it is of medical grounds. 

“Prayers 1, 2, 3 and 4 are hereby granted as prayed,” he said. 

He ordered Okorocha to return his travel documents to the court registry not later than three days upon his return. 

“There shall be penalties if the 1st defendant (Okorocha) fails to appear in the next adjourned date,” Ekwo ruled. 

The judge adjourned the matter until Nov. 7, Nov. 8, Nov. 9, Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 for trial continuation. 

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NAN reports that the lawmaker also sought a consequential order for the release of his Nigerian international travel passport booklet. This deposited with the court registrar in partial fulfillment of the conditions for bail grants to him. 

He further sought for “a consequential order that reliefs (1) and (2) above communicated by the registrar of this honourable court to the Nigerian Immigration Service, to facilitate the passage of the applicant. 

“An order directing the 1st defendant/applicant to return his international passport to the registrar of the honourable court upon his return to Nigeria.” 

The lawmaker, who gave three grounds why the reliefs sought should grant to him, said he was to bail pending trial in charge number: FHC/ABJ/28/2022. 

He said he has duly complied with all the terms of the bail including depositing his travel documents with the registrar of the court. 

He said prior to his arraignment, he underwent surgery at the Ambulatory Surgery Centre, Texas, U.S. for distal femur fracture, which he sustained in an accident.” 

 

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