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Akwa Ibom: Nine Arraigned Over Police, Masquerades Clash

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UYO, May 25 (THEWILL) - Nine persons were on Friday arraigned by the Akwa Ibom State Police Command before an Uyo High Court presided over by Chief Magistrate Edet Obot over the recent clash between the Police and masquerades, which resulted in the killing of one person.

According to a charge sheet made available to THEWILL, some hoodlums allegedly disguised as masquerades at Mbiabong Anyanya, Uyo, breaching public peace and setting ablaze a Hillux patrol van belonging to the state Police.

The suspects were arraigned on a three-count charge of conspiracy, malicious damage and terror to members of the public, which is punishable under section 88, 472, 556(1) of the Criminal Code, Cap 38, vol. II Laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria (2000).

While the accused persons all pleaded not guilty to the charges, Harrison Ernest, counsel to the accused, said all the accused persons are entitled to bail under the State Criminal Code Law.

In his ruling, Magistrate Obot granted each accused person bail with a fine of N100,000 each and ordered that each of the accused persons must produce one surety who has a landed property in Uyo, the state capital, and must deposit two passport photographs and their national identity cards with the court.

He adjourned further hearing on the matter till June 18.

A clash had broken out between the Police and the youths when a Police van driven on a one-way lane rammed into a group of masquerades said to be celebrating their yearly festival. One of the masqueraded youths died; and in a reprisal, the angry youths set ablaze a Toyota Hillux belonging to the Quick Respond Squad

After the incident, the Police were reported to have alleged that the masquerades comprised disgruntled youths who blocked Oron Highway and other major streets in Uyo, molesting unsuspecting members of the public.