City Voice Newspaper

Alleged Assembly invasion: Edo court grants suspects N500,000 bail

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By Peterson Ibi

Seven suspects charged with alleged invasion of Edo State House of Assembly complex on 6 August, 2020, were on Monday granted bail by a Benin City high Court.

The suspects are, Wilfred Ogbe (52), Igbinobono Collins (26l, Salami Osayomore (25), Odion Osayande (23), Morgan Uwanbo (47), Ifeoluwa Oladele (36) and Agbonrere Festus (25).

They were arrested by team of police operatives led by Dahiru Ibrahim from Abuja at the premises of the Edo House of Assembly in Benin, on the said date.

Police prosecution told the court that the suspects invaded the Assembly premises in a manner that caused breach of peace.

The presiding Judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwoba, admitted the suspects to bail in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each in like sum.

Ikponmwoba said the surety must be gainfully employed and reside within the Court’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, judgment in a motion on their fundamental human rights action was adjourned to Tuesday, 8 September.

Counsel to the Applicants, Matthias Obayuwana, who filed a 24 paragraphs affidavit in support of his motion, submitted that the motion was aimed at enforcing the fundamental rights to liberty and personal dignity, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the applicants by the police authorities.

He submitted that the applicants were arrested while performing their lawful duties as members of the state vigilante group who were at the Assembly complex at the instance of state government to protect the place from being vandalized by hoodlums on that fateful day.

Obayuwana further told the court that the Applicants were arrested by a team of police operatives led by one Dahiru Ibrahim and taken to Force Headquarters in Abuja, where they were tortured and detained under unfavourable condition without food.

He emphasized that the rights to personal dignity is not such that can be negotiated, waived, neglected or overlooked.

Citing relevant sections of the law to drive home his points, the Applicants’ counsel told the court that the Respondents did not present any warrant of arrest, petition or complaint by anyone against the Applicants on the basis for which they acted in the early hours of that day, an exercise that was ill-motivated and which smacks of partisanship in the electoral politics of Edo state.

He urged the court to accordingly, restrain the Respondents, their agents, servants and privies from further interference with the fundamental human rights to liberty of the Applicants in the discharge of their duties as vigilante employed by the Edo state government for the protection of government properties.

Obayuwana also prayed the court, amongst other reliefs, to direct the Respondents jointly and severally to apologise to the Applicants in writing and publish same in at least one national daily for the unwarranted infringement of their fundamental rights to liberty pursuant to section 35(6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

Objecting the application, counsel to the police, Mr. Akomen Adaghe, urged the court to rule against the applicants because they were arrested with guns, an offence punishable by law.

Joined as espondents in the case are; the Inspector General of Police, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, the Edo state Commissioner of Police and Dahiru Ibrahim.

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