By Ozioruva Aliu – Benin City
The Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has rejected proposed plan by Edo State government to set up mobile courts to try cases of suspected vandals, thieves and arsonists in the course of the on-going EndSARS protests.
The mobile courts were expected to star sitting Monday in the premises of the State Police command apparently for security reasons
But Chairman Benin NBA, Pius Oiwoh, said the idea of the government setting up such courts is unacceptable, as there are designated courts set up to hear such matters.
He explained that, “Besides, the courts that can hear this matter are intact. By the time you use the police station as a venue for a mobile court to be sitting, then be assured that they will do the bidding of the police.
“These are matters that cannot be heard summarily. They are matters, for instance, the defendants say they are not guilty they ought to be granted bail.
“They will go home, and then the matter will be adjourned for hearing; where the defendants will now have an opportunity of calling his witnesses to explain to the court where they were as at that time,” he said.
“Now, when you set up a mobile court with the expectation to hear them summarily, guilty or not guilty they send them to prison. It is not supposed to be like that,” Oiwoh added.
But when Vanguard visited the police headquarters, a police source said the court could not sit but may likely sit Tuesday.
When asked what was the reason for the court not sitting, he attributed it to logistic challenges and said he was not aware of the position of the NBA.
Calls to the Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor were not picked at the time of filing this report.