An Umuahia Magistrate Court in Abia State on Monday ordered the arrest of Ebere Wabara, an Associate Editor with The Sun newspapers, for alleged failure to appear in court.
The court, presided by Chief Magistrate John Ukpai, also ordered the arrest of Chuks Onuoha, the Abia State correspondent of The Sun newspaper, who reportedly secured bail for Wabara on Saturday.
Wabara, who is also an aide to former Governor Orji Kalu of Abia State, was arrested by policemen from the Abia State Police Command in Lagos on Friday.
He was granted police administrative bail on Saturday at about 10:15pm.
He was told to report to the office of the Commissioner of Police in Abia State on Monday.
However, without any notification, Wabara was arraigned on a 10-count charge of sedition and malicious publications in different editions of The Sun newspapers.
The prosecution counsel, Chief Chukwunyere Nwabuko, said that Wabara, along with others at large, was alleged to have on March 10 authored a defamatory article in The Sun newspaper, page 21, entitled: T.A. Orji’s seven years demystification of Kalu.”
Nwabuko said the publication was intended to discredit Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State in different editions of the newspaper and injure the reputation of Chief Chinedu Orji, the governor’s son.
He said: “The publication also intended to expose Chinedu to hatred, contempt or ridicule by describing him as a terrorist, knowing same to be false, thereby committed an offence.
“The offence is punishable under the Criminal Code Cap 80 Vol 3 Laws of Abia State of Nigeria 2005.”
Nwabuko alleged that Wabara had in one of his publications alleged that Chinedu, on March 15, ordered the shooting of his former Personal Assistant, late John Ndubuka.
According to him, the licence to write does not confer on Wabara the licence to malicious writing and sedition against law abiding citizens.
Efforts made by the News Agency of Nigeria to get Wabara’s reaction on the development were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Onuoha, who secured his bail, told NAN on phone that he was not aware that Wabara was served any summons by the court.
He said that Wabara arrived in Umuahia late on Saturday and was released on bail same night by the police.
According to him, the defendant went back to Lagos by bus on Sunday morning and was said to have taken ill and hospitalised shortly after.
He said: “The directive I got for his bail was that I should produce him at the police headquarters on Monday morning.
“I am not aware of the court order for his arrest or arraignment.”