The Rivers State Judiciary complex in Port Harcourt was yesterday thrown into jubilation mood as 35 pro-Biafra agitators were discharged.
The agitators who were arrested by the Police on January 20, during a rally in solidarity for the inauguration of the U.S. President, Donald Trump, were charged by the Police on two counts bordering on conspiracy to commit treason and treasonable felony.
The Chief Magistrate, Andrew Jaja, freed the suspects for what he described as lack of diligent prosecution by the Police.
In his ruling on Friday, Justice Jaja held that neither the Attorney-General nor the Commissioner of Police showed up in court within the 20-day period as stipulated by law, to file the necessary court processes to show proof why the agitators should continue to be held in prison custody for the offences for which they were charged.
The soldiers had in January opened fire on members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, during a peaceful march to mark the inauguration of the new President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.
During the attack at St. John’s along the ever-busy Aba Road, about 20 of the pro-Biafra supporters were reportedly shot, and wounded, while about 30 others were forcefully seized by the armed soldiers who whisked them away to an undisclosed destination.
In a similar development, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had earlier this week dismissed six of the eleven count charges leveled against the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, as well as three other accused persons.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal high court dismissed the counts for lack of proof of evidence. The charges dismissed included charges three, Òve, seven, nine and 11 respectively.
Specifically, in count 11, she said claims by the prosecution that the defendants are researching how to make Improvised Explosive Devices cannot hold waters because there was no proof that they were doing it.
On the count five which borders on belonging to an illegal organisation, Justice Nyako ruled that nothing was placed before the court to indicate that it was an illegal organisation and on the count seven which borders on the importation of radio transmission equipment, Justice Nyako also said that the prosecution did not furnish the court with any proof to suggest that the importation was illegal.
She, however, retained five other counts bothering on treason, terrorism, and possession of arms. The accused persons will, therefore, be arraigned in court again on the remaining charges.
This is the fifth time Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defendants are being re-arraigned. On the issue of preventing journalists from covering the trial, Justice Nyako said she would report to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court because according to her, she never gave such orders to the security agencies.