Breaking : Court grants bail to woman vendor arrested for selling newspapers containing Biafra stories
By Steve Oko
An Umuahia Magistrate court, Friday , granted bail to a woman vendor, Mrs. Felicia Ejezie arrested Wednesday at the popular Umuwaya newstand selling newspapers that contained Biafra stories.
The vendor, Felicia Ejezie
The 55 -year old vendor popularly known as Mama Biafra was arraigned at the court on one count charge.
She was charged for promoting ” membership of a terrorist group “.
The one count charge read in full :” That you Mrs. Felicia Ejezie, f, 55, on the 24th day of October, 2018, at Umuwaya Road in Umuahia North Magistrate District, was found promoting membership of a terrorist group, IPOB, by selling different IPOB newspapers, and you, thereby committed an offence punishable under section 64 (a) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 80. Volume 3 Laws of Abia State of Nigeria 2005.”
Meanwhile the vendor pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Her lawyer, Mr. Grant Nekoma asked the court to grant her bail, arguing that the offence for which she was charged is bailable.
He said the woman had been kept in police custody since Wednesday when she was arrested against the provisions of the law which required the accused to be arraigned within 24 hours of arrest.
The lawyer said the accused was of good repute and would not jump bail.
But the Prosecution quickly opposed the bail application, contending that the nature and gravity of the offence were so grevious she might abscond.
Ruling on the matter, the Chief Magistrate, L. C Ugbaja, granted the vendor bail in the sum of N300,000.
She was asked to produce a surety with a landed property within the jurisdiction of the court.
The matter was adjourned to December 7 for hearing .
Speaking with Wawa News Global later, the Defence Council, said the charge was frivolous and thanked the Magistrate for granting bail to the accused.
He frowned at the harresment of the vendor by security operatives wondering if it was a crime to sell newspapers.
The Council said the arrest of the vendor amounted to an attempt to muscle the press which he said is anti-democracy.
He however said the bail condition would soon be perfected to enable the vendor regain her freedom and be re-united with her family .
Hundreds of sympathises were around the court premises to solidarise with the acussed.
Her arrest had sparked puplic uproar and condemnation .
Ejezie was arrested last Wednesday by a team of police men numbering over 10 from the Central Police Station Umuahia.
According to eyewitness, she was said to be “singing and dancing” as she was being dragged to a waiting police patrol van.
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