Timothy Elerewe and Adegbuyi Ayodele, former chairman and secretary respectively of the Nigerian Union of  Journalists Correspondent Chapel, Abuja, were on Tuesday July 9, 2013 remanded in Kuje prison by Justice Suleiman Belgore of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja  following their arraignment on a 5-count charge that borders on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 
The duo are alleged to have, in 2006, informed their members of a 33.32 hectares of land purportedly allocated to the NUJ Chapel by the Nasarawa State Government. In a bid to secure the land, one hundred and eleven members were alleged to have each paid the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand naira (N350,000) per plot, totaling N14, 146,000 (fourteen million, one hundred and forty six thousand naira only).

Since then, members of the Chapel alleged that they neither got the land nor had their money refunded to them.

One of the counts read; “That you Timothy Elewere (being former chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalists Correspondent Chapel, FCT and Adegbuyi Ayodele (being former Secretary, Nigerian Union of Journalists Correspondent Chapel FCT) between January and December 2008 in Abuja within the Abuja Judicial Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory did dishonestly convert the sum of N6,491,000.00 (six million, four hundred and ninety one thousand naira only) being property of Nigerian Union of Journalists Correspondent Chapel, FCT to your own use and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 311 and punishable under section 312 of the Penal Code”.
 
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Based on the plea of the accused persons, the prosecuting counsel asked the court to fix a date for trial and also prayed the court to remand the accused in prison custody pending the determination of the case.
 
However, counsel to the first accused person, Esther Uzoma made an oral application for bail and pleaded with the court to admit the accused persons to bail.

However, Justice Belgore insisted on a formal application for bail and adjourned proceedings to July 25, 2013,  while remanding the accused person in Kuje Prison.

Wilson Uwujaren
Ag. Head, Media and Publicity
9th July, 2013

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