A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Thursday, remanded 30 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra in prison custody.
The suspected IPOB members were arrested on Tuesday by the operatives of the Rivers State Police Command for allegedly engaging in violent acts that breached the peace in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
Nine out of the 30 persons arraigned in court were accused of killing a police sergeant identified as Steven Daniel on Wednesday during the crisis at Oyigbo.
In Suit No. PMC/1936c/2017 and PMC/1935c/2017, the accused persons were charged with murder, treason, armed robbery, felony, unlawful assembly, unlawful protest and other sundry crimes.
The court, however, did not take the plea of the accused persons as it declared lack of jurisdiction on the matter brought before it.
The Chief Magistrate, Amadi Amadi-Nna, further directed the court registrar to remit the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal advice and adjourned the matter indefinitely.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. Enoch George, a Superintendent of Police, said the police would leave no stone unturned in making sure that the suspects were prosecuted according to the law.
George explained that they were in court for the first time for remand and proceedings, saying, “Naturally, the defendants have their lawyers and they also raised legal issues that the court does not have jurisdiction over.
“They (defendants) also said that the court should strike out the charges and discharge them. But we, the prosecutors, decided that the charge on which they were brought to court was very heavy and weighty.
“Some of the accused persons were charged under Section 319 of the Code of Criminal Justice Law in Rivers State, which is murder, while some were charged under Section 69, 70, which is unlawful assembly, procession and others and some of them were charged with treasonable felony.”
However, the counsel for the suspects, Mr. Donald Loho, maintained that he would explore the necessary options to ensure the suspects were freed.
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A Report Of The Judgement Of The 16 Divisions Of The Court Of Appeal In Nigeria