Nollywood actor charged with rape and supplying abortion drugs

The Akwa Ibom State On Wednesday, the government charged Nollywood actor Moses Armstrong with rape, intimidation, conspiracy and supplying drugs or instruments to have an abortion.

The four counts were read to Mr. Armstrong in Uyo State High Court for the first time since his first arrest on June 13, defense attorney Emmanuel Pantaleon told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday.

Mr. Armstrong, a former aide to Governor Udom Emmanuel, reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Mr. Pantaleon brought to the court’s attention his bail application filed on behalf of his client on July 25 and asked for the court’s permission to proceed with its review.

The prosecution, IU Robert, an assistant state attorney, while opposing the request for bail, cited the relevant judicial authorities and urged the court to reject the request which he called a “abuse of legal process”.

The judge, Ntong Ntong, after hearing submissions from the two lawyers, upheld the defense lawyer’s request and granted Mr. Armstrong bail in the amount of N5 million.

A trial court judge, Moreen Udoka had last month striped the case for lack of jurisdiction after being advised by the Crown that the case had gone to a State High Court.

Mr. Armstrong is being prosecuted for allegedly raping a minor – a teenage girl he adopted who lives with his (Mr. Armstrong’s) family.

The film actor was first brought before a magistrate’s court in Uyo on June 17, but the case was dropped after the magistrate, Samuel Ukoima, ruled that the case had no not been properly classified.

The magistrate had advised the public prosecutor to re-arrest the suspect, take him to the cell and re-charge him properly.

Mr Armstrong was suspended by the Actors Guild of Nigeria following the rape allegation.

The Akwa Ibom state-born actor, who started his career 23 years ago, lost his wife, Rita, in 2018.

The mother-of-two was returning from Lagos to her husband’s residence in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State when the bus she was traveling in crashed on the Ugbogui axis of the Benin Ore Lagos highway.

Rita, a Nollywood actress, died from spinal injuries sustained in the crash.

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