Enugu court remands 140 suspected IPOB members for alleged treason * ‘This looks like trumped-up charges because the only document against them before the court is the charge sheet’ – Magistrate *As IPOB raises alarm over illegal abduction of Biafrans
Enugu court remands 140 suspected IPOB members for alleged treason
* ‘This looks like trumped-up charges because the only document against them before the court is the charge sheet’ – Magistrate
*As IPOB raises alarm over illegal abduction of Biafrans
An Enugu East Magistrates Court presided by Magistrate A. N. Chioke Thursday, remanded 140 suspected members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) over an alleged treason.
The defendants, who were brought to the court in three 608 buses and one 18-seater bus, were said to have conspired to commit treasonable felony.
According to News Agency of Nigeria, the suspects were however, arraigned outside the court for about two hours as the court room could not accommodate them.
The offence was said to be punishable under Sect. 516 (A) of the Criminal Code CAP C38, Laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Enugu State.
When the charge was read, the defendants pleaded not guilty. One of the defense counsels, Mr Osita Abalu applied for their bail on the grounds that there was no evidence to back up the charge.
Abalu said that the prosecution had failed to provide probable cause why the defendants should be remanded in court in line with Sect.
234 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws (ACJL) of Enugu State, 2017.
He urged the court to exercise its powers under Sect. 225 of the same law and grant bail to the defendants.
Abalu said that though the offence for which the defendants were charged was punishable with life imprisonment, Sect. 88 of the ACJL, the Magistrates Court was qualified to grant bail.
He also urged the court to order the release of the four buses conveying the defendants to the venue of the burial.
Counsel to the 107 defendant, Mr F.C. Okeke told the court that it was ridiculous for the prosecution to claim that the defendants attempted to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okeke said that the defendants were arrested on their way to a burial and wondered how that could translate to over throwing the government.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is in Abuja, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is in Enugu while the defendants were arrested in Nsukka,” he said.
The counsel described the charge as trumped-up and meant to deny the defendants of their fundamental rights.
Stop mocking the dead, political parties hit at PDP over comments on insecurity(Opens in a new browser tab) Okeke said that the prosecution deliberately brought the matter to the Magistrates Court just to punish them.
“An accused person cannot be brought to a court when such court has no jurisdiction to entertain the matter just to punish them.
“That is the essence of the ACJL of Enugu State.
The law does not want an innocent soul to suffer.
“The defendants were arrested with no evidence; not even a razor blade. They were going to a burial,” he said.
Okeke urged the court to grant them bail in the most lenient means.
However, the prosecution counsel, Mr Paschal Nwachukwu urged the court to discountenance the bail application.
Nwachukwu said that the law empowered prosecutors to bring defendants to a magistrate for remand.
He said that a court could not grant bail in a matter it had no jurisdiction.
In her ruling, Chioke declined jurisdiction in the case and remanded the defendants in Enugu Prisons and urged the defense team to make application in the appropriate court.
The magistrate ordered the release of the four vehicles to their owners on bond and on the provision of proof of ownership and particulars, according to NAN report.
“The charge the defendants are remanded for is treasonable but the prosecution did not list any exhibit of weapon of warfare against them.
“The only document against them before the court is the charge sheet. This looks to me like a trumped up charge,” the Magistrate reportedly said.
* IPOB raises alarm over indiscriminate abduction, toture of Biafra
Meanwhile, IPOB has raised an alarm over illegal arrest, detention and execution in some instances of innocent Biafrans in Enugu.
According to IPOB, innocent people are occasionally rounded up and taken to unknown locations.
A release by IPOB’s Media & Publicity Secretary , Emma Powerful alleged that some persons were arrested at Nike area of Enugu and taken to unknown location by security operatives.
The release which was made available to Wawa News Global called on the international community to be aware of the alleged “criminal abduction and torture” of innocent Biafrans.
IPOB accused the Nigerian press of under reportage of the alleged atrocities of security agents against peaceful Biafrans.
The statement read in part : ” State sponsored criminal abduction, kidnapping, torture and execution of defenceless citizens are ongoing in Enugu State right now.
“Pictures below are innocent victims of this unprecedented state terrorism against innocent civilians in Nike area of Enugu State.
“It was reported that they have now been moved to an unknown location for possible execution.
“We are placing all diplomatic missions to Nigeria, especially the United States, European Union and African Union, on notice with regards to their obligation to report these levels of unimaginable atrocity by the Nigerian state against Biafrans to their home countries and relevant agencies.
“We are also holding Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi personally responsible as the Chief Security Officer of Enugu State for this brazen and illegal attempt to execute dozens of innocent people for no apparent reason.
“The, ‘see no evil hear no evil’, Nigerian media and populace is hereby officially informed of the heinous crimes their government is committing in Enugu State on their behalf, should they wish to distort the story at a later stage.
“It is in the best interest of all that all those abducted are released immediately”, IPOB said.
Steve Oko, Publisher/C.E.O, WaWa News Global. For more information on advert placement and news coverage, contact us on: 08038725600, or via email email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org Always read WaWa News Global - Your most dependable online news platform for the latest breaking news in Nigeria.