Justice S.I. Opara of the Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri, the state capital, on Wednesday denied the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Gerald Irona, bail.
Irona was denied bail by the Judge after the prosecution argued that his bail application was filed late Monday.
The prosecutors argued that as of Wednesday morning when the accused was arraigned, the 48 hours allowed by law to enable the prosecutors to respond on points of law subsisted.
They said it would be unlawful for the Judge to entertain the bail application when a counter-bail application had not been filed by the prosecutors.
But one of the counsels to the accused, S.I. Imo, urged the jurist to go ahead to hear the application and grant his client bail, arguing that as a former member of the House of Representatives and immediate past deputy governor of the state, his client was qualified in the eyes of the law to be granted bail.
After listening to the arguments, the Judge denied Irona bail.
He adjourned the case till March 22 to enable the prosecutors to file their counter-bail affidavit.
Irona’s arraignment, which was supposed to be on Tuesday, was stalled after it was announced that his case file had not been transmitted to the court.
The police in the state had on Thursday arraigned Irona before a Magistrates Court in Owerri on a three-count bordering on treason.
The Magistrate, C.N Ezerioha, denied Irona bail and ordered that he be remanded in Owerri prison custody after listening to the arguments for and against his bail.
The three charges preferred against him by the police read, “That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did conspired with others now at large, to commit felony to wit: treason and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(2) of the criminal code, cap c 38, law of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona sometime in January 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, did make several utterances to the effect that you will make Imo state ungovernable and immediately afterwards hoodlums levied several attacks on Imo state with intent to intimidate or overawe the governor of Imo state and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37 of the criminal code, cap, c 38, law of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.
“That you Hon Gerald Irona on the 15th day of January, 2020, at Owerri in the Owerri magistrate district, do converted to your own use two land cruiser jeep ( V8 and v6) and one Toyota Hilux vehicle valued four hundred and Ninety three million naira property of Imo state government thereby committed an offence punishable under section 390 ( 9) of the criminal code, cap c 38, laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004, as applicable in Imo State.”