Chief Magistrate Andrew Jaja of a Port Harcourt Magistrate’s court will today rule on the bail applications filed by counsels of 20 pro Biafra supporters arrested in Port Harcourt during a protest march last week by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The protesters had demanded the unconditional release of the Director of Biafra radio, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
The Chief Magistrate, Mr. Jaja had to defer the case till today after listening to arguments of counsels of the 20 suspects seeking the court to grant them bail last week. While remanding them in prison custody, the Chief Magistrate said he needed to take a critical look at the issue and thus adjourned till today.
The suspects were, among other things, charged for treasonable felony. They also allegedly tore the nation’s flag, an act the Police said was a threat to the unity of the country.
Those arraigned were: Benson Sunday (21), Emmanuel Ali (25), Ukeme Monday (32), Chibuzo Ezechina (33), Charles Eze (29), Egbo Okechukwu (24), Chibona Ifion (47), John Douglas (20), Ezenwa Alphonsus (51), Wori Endurance (30), Chinomere Nwolu (25), Henry Eze (36), Friday Uzunwa (22), Igodo Abio (34), Akaniyene Uwem (22), Eni Iboro (27), Obinna Stephen (26), Monday Ocha (37), Obinna Ibekwe (27), and Kingsley Ezengorie (24).
The three-count charge against them read in part, “…on October 20, 2015, at about 2:00p.m., at Ikwerre Road in Port Harcourt, in Port Harcourt magisterial District, the suspects and others now at large did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: treason and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(2), of the criminal code, Cap C38, Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
“… on same date and time did without lawful authority demonstrate and chant war song that Hausa is not part of Biafra, which caused panic in the neighbourhood, instilled fear on reasonable grounds with intent to intimidate or cause panic within the state and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 37(1) of the criminal code, Cap C38 laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
And “…all the suspects and others now at large on the same place and time, did wilfully and unlawfully damage the Nigeria flag, which was hoisted at Zenith Bank Plc, Ikoku Branch in Port Harcourt, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 451 of criminal code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.”
Meantime, the Anambra State Police command said, yesterday, that no supporter of director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu was detained by it, contrary to a newspaper report on the matter.
Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, for the command, Mr. Ali Okechukwu said the 17 persons, made up of 13 females and four males, who were among those protesting on the said date, were cautioned and asked to go home by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hosea Karma.
He denied a newspaper report that the police shot four members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, describing such report as mischievious.
Credit : Vanguard