By Anayo Okoli
UMUAHIA—TWO High Courts sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, have granted bail to eight of the nine Judaism worshippers arrested last month at the Afaraukwu, Umuahia home of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, where they claimed to be holding a prayer session.
They were arrested on May 13, 2018, and were remanded at the Afara Prison after their arraignment at the Magistrate Court on May 14, where they were charged for terrorism.
Presiding Magistrate, Mr. O. U Ugwu, had ordered that they be remanded in prison custody pending their arraignment in High Court because the magistrate could not entertain terrorism matters.
The Chief Magistrate had expressed displeasure with the police for charging the accused before a magistrate court when they were aware that the court does not have the jurisdiction to entertain such a matter.
Six of the accused were arraigned before the Acting Chief Judge of Abia state, Justice Onuoha Ogwe of the High Court 1, who granted them bail in the sum of N1 million each.
Three other suspects were arraigned before Justice O. A Chijioke of High Court 3, who granted two of them bail in the sum of N200,000 each, and said that their surety must have verifiable residence and should also deposit two copies of his recent photographs with the court.
However, one of the suspects was not granted bail as the prosecution officer claimed that his file has “gone missing”. But their lawyer, Mr. Alloy Ejimakor, said he would get to the root of the alleged missing file and ensure that the suspect also got bail.
Ejimakor however, expressed happiness that the suspects were able to get justice at last after one month detention.
He commended the courts for their wisdom in granting bail to the suspects but he expressed concern over the stringent bail conditions stipulated by Court 1.
According to him, he would initiate “fait inquiry” to find out why the file of one of the accused suddenly went missing.
Ejimokor maintained that the accused persons are not terrorists as claimed by the police.
He disagreed with the police on the terrorism charge clamped against the suspects, saying the trial was “a religious persecution against the accused.”