For allegedly engaging in the destruction of lives and property during the #EndSARS protests in Rivers State, a Magistrate’s Court sitting in Port Harcourt, has remanded 21 suspected members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to a correctional centre in the city.
When the suspects were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Amadi-Nnah, he declined jurisdiction over the matter after the prosecution team slammed them with charges of terrorism, cultism and illegal and unlawful gathering in the state. Amadi-Nnah, however, asked the lawyers representing the suspects to seek for bail of his clients at the high court, and directed that their file be sent to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.
The chief magistrate therefore adjourned the case till December 29, for legal advice. But one of the suspect’s lawyers, Sunday Womoor, said his client was not a member of IPOB, alleging that the police brought trumped up charges against the suspects.
Womoor said the suspects were wrongly arrested by the police despite distancing themselves from the activities of IPOB. Another lawyer, Mbadinuju Akunasiobike, counsel to one of the defendants, said that although the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the case, it should have cross-checked the case file to know if the prosecution team was misinforming the court on the charges preferred against his client.
It will be recalled that the Rivers State Police Command paraded 21 suspected members of the proscribed griup for the attacks in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state that led to the death of police officers and the burning of a Divisional Police Command in the area and some vehicles.
The state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, who briefed newsmen yesterday, said the IPOB suspects were arrested in Oyigbo and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas respectively, noting that three police officers (an inspector and two sergeants) were killed by the armed hoodlums while four suspects also died