An Enugu East Magistrates Court presided over by Magistrate A. N. Chioke has remanded 140 members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) over alleged treason. They were said to have conspired to commit treasonable felony and were arraigned outside the court for about two hours as the court room could not accommodate them.
The offence was said to be punishable under Sect. 516 (A) of the Criminal Code CAP C38, Laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria 2004 as applicable in Enugu State.
When the charge was read, they pleaded not guilty.
A defence counsel, Osita Abalu, applied for their bail on the grounds that there was no evidence to back up the charge.
Abalu said the prosecution had failed to provide probable cause why they should be remanded in court and urged the court to exercise its powers under Section 225 of the same law and grant bail to the defendants.
Mr. Abalu said though the offence for which the defendants were charged was punishable with life imprisonment, Section 88 of the ACJL, the Magistrates Court was qualified to grant bail.
Counsel to the 107 defendants, F.C. Okeke, told the court that it was ridiculous for the prosecution to claim that the defendants attempted to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari.
Okeke said the defendants were arrested on their way to a burial and wondered how that could translate to over throwing the government.
In her ruling, Mrs Chioke declined jurisdiction in the case and remanded the defendants in Enugu Prisons and urged the defence team to make application in the appropriate court. (NAN)
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