FROM: TONY JOHN, PORT HARCOURT
A Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, has refused the bail application for the 45 supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) charged with public disturbance during a pro-Donald Trump rally in the city last month.
The accused persons, whow rearranged in court on January 23 by the police, on a two-count charge of conspir- acy to commit felony and treasonable felony, were among the 65 persons arrested by the force during the solidarity rally for the new United States President.
They were accused of an offence punishable under sec- tion 516A (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Volume II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
They were also charged with conducting themselves “in a manner likely to force or compel the president to change his measures, by displaying flags and other items of the ‘Bi- afraRepublic’, withsuchintentionbyanacttotakeover the government of Nigeria by force and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 41 (c) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Volume II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999”.
In his ruling, yesterday, Chief Magistrate Andrew Jaja, said the refusal to grant them bail was due to societal issues. Jaja explained that if the suspects were granted bail, they would constitute nuisance to the society.
He also ordered that the case file should be transferred to the state Attorney General for onward transmission to the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), for legal advice within 10 days.
The Chief Magistrate ordered that they be remanded in prison pending the advice of the DPP. He then adjourned the case till February 17 for hearing.
Earlier,theaccusedpersons’lawyer, Mr. IfeanyiEjiofor, saidhesuspected“foulplay” inthetrialofhisclients, after the court failed to sit on the adjourned date, January 30, after theirarraignment, withoutpriorinformationfromthecourt.