Court slams police, releases 35 IPOB members from prison
A Chief Magistrates' Court in Port Harcourt has lashed at the Nigeria Police and the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for unlawfully imprisoning 35 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for 37 days in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The IPOB members were arrested in Port Harcourt during a solidarity rally for US President, Donald Trump on January 23.
Chief Magistrate Sokari Andrew-Jaja discharged the 35 IPOB members because of lack of diligent prosecution by the Police and the Director of Public Prosecution in Rivers State.
The Chief Magistrate expressed anger that for 37 days after the IPOB members were arrested and detained, the Police and the DPP were not able establish the crime the suspects committed.
There was wild jubilation by thousands of IPOB members who thronged the court to show solidarity with the members of IPOB immediately the court ordered their release.
The Police had herculean task keeping them away from the court complex during the court session.
Counsel to the IPOB members, David Onyema, accused the police of deliberately keeping the arrested suspects in prison for no cogent reason known to law.
'This matter has been adjourned several times simply because the Police and DPP failed to come up with any evidence against my clients.
'Those men have been remanded in prison for more than thirty days. Then, why do you keep holding them if you don't have anything against them.
'The Magistrate told them that if there is no noble cause against the defendants it will be in the interest of the Police and the DPP to stand down the trial.' – The News.