By John Ighodaro
CALABARâ€”For allegedly shooting to death one Okon Edem in Calabar, Cross River State, a youth corpÂ member and his friend have been arraigned before the Chief Magistrate Court in Calabar.
The youth corp member, Roland Nsa and his friend, George Anthony, whose trial have commenced in the Magistrate Court 4, have been remanded at the Afokang prison custody in the city.
Counsel to the accused in his application for bail had argued that despite their offence, it should not be forgotten that they are still citizens of Nigeria, appealing that they be granted bail to enable the youth corp member complete his national assignment. He noted that the accused persons have been in detention for about a month, saying it was not right.
The counsel who noted that the police had the tendency to keep alleged offenders unnecessarily in detention urged the Magistrate not to allow the alleged offenders to waste away in detention, adding that their continued stay in custody was glaringly against the law which stipulates that suspects should be tried within 24 hours.
The Chief Magistrate, Okokon Ita, while responding, however, said his court has no jurisdiction to entertain a matter pertaining to murder.
He drew the attention of the accused counsel to the practice direction which highlighted the decongestion of prisons, but not to release persons who are standing trial for murder on bail.
The Chief Magistrate said he would direct that the case file be sent to Director of (DPP), so the matter could be heard in the High Court.
The accused persons were alleged to have shot dead one Okon Edem on May 6, 2009 in Calabar and escaped until they were apprehended.