Four suspects were on Thursday arraigned before an Anambra state magistrate court sitting at Ozubulu over their alleged involvement in an attack on St Philip’s Catholic Church.
No fewer than 13 persons were killed and another 22 wounded in the August 6 attack on worshippers.
The suspects arraigned were Chinedu Akpunonu (44), Vincent Ike (57), Chukwudi Ugwu (30) and Onyebuchi Mbanefo (46), while three other suspects are still at large.
The suspects were arraigned on a 37-count charge bordering on conspiracy and murder.
A South African -based businessman, Aloysius Ikegwuonu, whose father was killed in the attack, the parish priest of St Philip’s Catholic Church, Jude Onwuaso, and six others were listed as witnesses in the matter.
Charges against them read in part: “That you Great Chinedu Akpunonu, .M. Vincent Ike .M. Chukwudi Ugwu .M. others now at large on or about 6th day of August 2017 at St Philip Catholic Church Amakwa Ozubulu at about 0600hrs in the Ekwusigo Magisterial District did conspire to commit felony to wit: Murder.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 494 of the Criminal Code Cap 36 vol. II revised laws of Anambra state of Nigeria 1991.
“That you, Great Chinedu Akpunonu ‘m’, Vincent Ike m’, Chukwudi Ugwu ‘m and others now at large on the same date, place, time and within the aforementioned magisterial District did unlawfully kill one Anthoni Ufondu ‘f’ by shooting her with a gun which caused her death.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under ‘Section 274(1) of the Criminal Code Cap 36 vol. H revised paws of Anambra state of Nigeria 1991.
“That you Great Chinedu Akpunonu ‘m’, Vincent Ike ‘m’, Chukwudi Ugwu ‘m’ others now at large on the same date, place, time and within the aforementioned magisterial District did unlawfully kill one Anurika Obunadike ‘f’ by shooting her with a gun which caused her death.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 274(1) of the Crnal Code Cap 36 vol. H revised laws of Arian-144ra state of Nigeria 1991.
Okechukwu Ikenna, counsel to the first defendant (Akunononu), sought the leave of the court for medical treatment of his client who he said was “seriously ill”.
The prosecuting counsel, B.A Onwuemekaghi, opposed the application, saying such a plea should come by writing and not oral.
Application for bail for the second, third and fourth defendants also failed as the magistrate, C.O Ezenwanne, refused to grant the request.
The magistrate bound over the matter to high court Nnewi for hearing on a yet to be announced date.