It was a celebration galore at Otuocha High Court, Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra State, on Tuesday following the discharge of eleven youths arraigned over alleged attempted kidnapping of the founder of Adoration Ministry, Uke, Rev Fr Emmanuel Obinna.
Other charges brought against the accused that were arrested in June of 2020 include alleged cultism and malicious damage against the Catholic priest popularity known as Ebube Muonso.
When the matter was called up for trial, the complainant, Fr Obimma, told the court of his desire to withdraw the case, describing the accused as his brothers who should be forgiven.
His words: “If we should go by the legal interpretation, I don’t think the youths will come out of the case but there is a saying in law that we should tamper justice with mercy and ‘injustice 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 actualize their dream. The youths are the hope of the nation.”
Jubilation erupted when the Presiding Judge, Justice H. N. Ozoh, after hearing from the complainant, discharged and acquitted the youths.
The accused that came from Correctional Centre with prison uniform immediately changed their attire and reunited with their family members who besieged the court with other members of the community.
Reacting to the development, 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.
While saying that much needs to be done to bring lasting peace to the area, they noted that the withdrawal of the case has paved a way for reconciliation.
They added, “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.”