YENAGOA STONING: COURT STRIKES OUT CASE
A Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa has discharged three Bayelsa youths charged with treasonable felony over the stoning of Governor Timipre Sylva during a civic reception held in honour of President Goodluck Jonathan recently in Yenagoa.
The defendants, Toremeye Fibi aged 37; Ukalizebe Benard, 28 and Beneyi Best 30 were brought before Justice R.M. Alkawa in November and he ordered them to be remanded in prison custody while the case was adjourned till December 1 for accelerated hearing.
The Bayelsa Police Command based on the confessions of the defendants had invited those it claimed were their sponsors. Checks by Daily Sun indicated that some concerned Bayelsans wrote a petition to the Inspector General of Police asking him to investigate the matter and not allow innocent people to suffer because of the political dimension the case was assuming.
According to sources, the IGP ordered the Force headquarters to take over the matter and directed the Bayelsa police to withdraw the case from court. At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Henry Ogbeiwi informed the court that he had received instructions from the IGP to discontinue the case because the Force headquarters had stepped in to further investigate the incident.
He therefore applied for the case to be struck out since it would be meaningless to continue the case in court while the police were still on investigation. Counsel to the defendants, O. J. Makbere did not object to the application but prayed that the judge discharge and acquit his clients.
Justice Alkawa in his ruling after listening to the argument of Makbere struck out the case since the police wanted to withdraw the case from the court and discharged the defendants but refused to acquit them.
Over 200 youths who had stormed the court to express solidarity with the defendants were however disappointed when the three youths were not allowed to go home but whisked away to the police headquarters where they were to meet with the officer from the Force headquarters to take over the case.
Makbere in an interview said the withdrawal of the case for further investigation was an indication that the first investigation upon which his clients were arraigned in court was incomplete, bias and shoddy. He said government should not be seen as an instrument of oppression, victimization and directing of vengeance against perceived opponents.
Makbere said government should be founded on good governance and security with the protection of lives and property of the citizens and not taking exception to the people airing their grievances in a democratic setting.