26 members of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) who were arrested on Monday at Aba in the course of their protest which turned bloody, due to the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, were yesterday, 19th of January, granted bail by a Magistrate court in Umuahia, the Abia state capital.
The Biafra agitators whose names were listed in the charge sheet as members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), were brought before the court on a 3 count charge of;
- conspiracy to commit felony,
- belonging to an unlawful society, and
- possession of one cutlass, 12 MASSOB T-shirts, identity cards of MASSOB.
As stated in the charge;
“the accused and others now at large, who were arrested by the police on the 18th day of January 2016 at Aba, Abia state, conspired among themselves to commit the offences which are punishable under Sections 516A (1), 64(a) and 65 (4) of the Criminal code Cap 80 Vol. III Laws of Abia State 2005.”
Mr. O.O. Uche, the Police procecutor and a Deputy Superitendent of Police, persuaded the court to send the activists back into custody “to make them learn their lessons,” but Barristers Nwabueze Nwankwo and E.O. Nkere, the defense counsels, contrary to the opinion of Mr. Uche, pleaded for the Magistrate to grant them bail because the crime for which they were accused, was bailable.
The Magistrate who ruled on the application for bail., Mrs. Linda Ugboaja, nevertheless, agreed to allow them bail in the sum of 100,000 naira and one surety each who must be living within the area where the legal authority of the court covers and must submit 2 of their current passport photos to the court.
Meanwhile in Enugu, the State Police Command, yesterday, arraigned eight suspected members of the MASSOB and IPOB that were arrested for not heeding to the ban on protests and demonstrations that was in place in the state. The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ebere Amarizu, said that 8 of the arrested men who include “…Nwangwu Friday, 26; Chekwube Eneta, 28; Chigozie Mba, 29 ; Isaiah Ogazi, 28; Onyekachukwu Uzoma, 43; Onyemalu Princewill, 26; Israel Ani, 18, and Ugwuobu Kelechi, 24,” behaved in a way that would probably hinder public peace.
Mr. Amarizu said further;
“Investigations showed that many of them were from other states but were hired to be in Enugu for the unlawful assembly and processions. However,the command promptly charged the suspects to Magistrate Court 111, Enugu-East in Suit Number CME 121C/2016.
“When the case was called up and the counts of the charge were read to the accused persons,they pleaded not guilty and were remanded in prison custody while the case was adjourned to February 10.”
Consequently, the incessant protests by the Biafra agitators in different parts of the country, has led the president to invite some South-Eastern governors to discuss how the issue can be addressed and resolved just as the IPOB has started making arrangements to sue Buhari and other Nigerian officials to the Hague over supposed cruel treatment and hostility perpetrated against its members and the Igbos by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Note that the Hague is the city in the Netherlands where the United Nation’s International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court is located.