Tony Osauzo, Benin
The Chairman of the Benin branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr Pius Oiwoh has kicked against the plan by Edo State Government to set up a mobile court to try suspected arsonists and looters of a COVID-19 palliative warehouse in Benin.
The mobile court is supposed to be located at the premises of the Edo State Police Command to conduct the trial of arrested suspects who allegedly damaged public and private property during the recent #EndSARS protests.
But Oiwoh, while objecting to the government’s decision, said there are existing conventional courts set up to hear such matters, adding that using police stations as a venue for a mobile court to be sitting, will make the court do the bidding of the police.
The NBA Chairman argued that the charges cannot be heard summarily.
‘These are matters that cannot be heard summarily. These are matters where for instance, the defendants may say they are not guilty and ought to be granted bail. In such instances, they will go home and the matter will be adjourned for hearing. The defendants will have an opportunity of calling his witnesses to explain to the court where they were as at that time.
‘Now, when you set up a mobile court, it is with the expectation to hear them summarily guilty or not guilty and then send them to prison. It is not supposed to be like that,’ he said.