A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has remanded 30 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in prison custody on Thursday, September 14, 2017.
Operatives of the Rivers State Police Command had on Tuesday arrested the suspected IPOB members for allegedly involving in violent acts that breached the peace in the Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state.
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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.
In his ruling, however, the trial Chief Magistrate, Andrew Amadi-Nna, declined jurisdiction on the matter and ordered the court registrar to remit the case file to the DPP for legal advice and adjourned 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.