There was jubilation at the High Court sitting in Otuocha in Anambra East local government of Anambra state following the discharge of 11 youths over alleged attempted kidnapping, cultism and malicious damage of a Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Obimma (Ebubemonso).
The accused, from Uruebo Nkewelle Ezunaka community were arrested last year June over the four-count charge.
When the matter was called up for trial, the complainant, who is the Spiritual Director of Holy Ghost Adoration Ministry Uke, told the court of his intention to withdraw the case as the accused were his brothers who should be forgiven.
He said, “If we should go by the legal interruption, I don’t think, the youths will come out of the case but there is saying in law that we should tamper justice with mercy and in justice man was condemned and at the same time in mercy man was redeemed’. They are my brothers but something happened, so I had to forgive them.
“What is important is that there is peace now and everybody is happy. Hooliganism is bad; cultism is bad and I will continue to warn the youths against the vices. I advise the youths to be industrious and work hard to actualise their dream. The youths are the hope of the nation.”
The presiding judge, Justice H. N Ozoh, after hearing from the complainant, discharged and acquitted the youths.
The accused who came from Correctional Centre in uniform, immediately changed their attires and reunited with their family members who besieged the court with other members of the community.
Reacting, two elders of the community, Ogbuefi Abel Okafor and Ogbuefi Augustine Okadigbo whose sons were among the freed youths commended the court for doing the needful, stressing that there was much to be done to bring lasting peace to the area.
“Our children never committed the crime they were accused of by the Rev. Fr. Obimma. The withdrawal of the case has not only vindicated them but has paved a way forward for peace and reconciliation,” they added.