Police arraign 114 Biafra women protesters in Owerri magistrate court
. To be remanded in prison custody till September 3rd
By Steve Oko
The Nigerian Police, Monday arraigned 114 Biafran women protesters in an Owerri Magistrate court two.
The protesters were arrested Friday, August 17 during a peaceful protest to demand a date for Biafra referendum as well as the whereabouts of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who disappeared since September 14, 2017 raid of his Afaraukwu Umuahia country home by security operatives.
The women protesters were brought to the court premises in Hilux vans.
They were arraigned on ten count charge ranging from reasonable felony, terrorism and unlawful assembly.
Other charges preferred against them include : breach of public peace, unlawful procession, unlawful obstruction of traffic flow and possession of IPOB symbols and flags.
The charge sheet marked OW /430C/2018 was signed by Thaddeus Okey, a Superintendent of Police and Officer in charge of Legal Unit, Imo State Command.
After the charges were reeled out against them, lead Council to the Biafra women, Aloy Ejimako applied for their bail but the prosecution vehemently opposed it, arguing that the magistrate court lacks powers to entertain the matter.
The Chief Magistrate however, berated the Prosecution for arranging the accused before the court knowing fully that it lacked jurisdiction over it.
According to the Magistrate it is wrong to first bring an accused person to a magistrate court when the offence involved can only be entertained by the High court.
Consequently, the magistrate struck out three charges and referred the matter to the Public Prosecution for onward transfer to High court.
The matter was later adjourned till September 3 while the accused were to be remanded in prison custody.
Later in an interview, the lead Council to the accused, Ejimako said he would file an application for the matter to be transferred to the High court immediately.
He described the action of the police as deliberatly wicked to prolong the sufferings of the women in detention.
The lawyer expressed shock that unarmed women protesters who were merely exercising their freedom of expression could be molested, beaten up, arrested and bundled into detention under democracy.
He said Nigeria democracy has become a laughing stock under the current administration but vowed to stop at nothing until his clients get justice.
Meanwhile IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, condemned the continued detention of the women.
The statement read in part : “We condemn the continued detention and suffocation of Biafra women and mothers in Owerri magistrate court today.
“It is dangerous for Hausa Fulani security operatives to suffer our mothers. Nigerian security operatives in Owerri Imo state arraigned our mothers and sisters in a magistrate court to humiliate IPOB members.
“It’s better APC Party and its handlers including Nigeria Government to understand that there is no amount of killing, intimidation and attack can stop Biafra freedom.
“Biafra is a divine project ordained by the Most High God.”