18 July 2018

Nigeria: Court Orders Enugu Attorney General, Prison Officials to Produce Detained Massob Members

Enugu — An Enugu Magistrate Court yesterday ordered the state Attorney General and the Nigeria Prisons Service (NIS) to produce members of the Ralph Uwazurike-led Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) in court.

About 32 BIM members were arrested on May 22, 2018 during their celebration of Biafra anniversary in Enugu and were subsequently arraigned on treason charges.

However, the matter had been adjourned twice at the instance of the police due to failure of the prison officials to produce the accused persons in court.

When the matter was mentioned yesterday, none of the accused persons was brought to court, prompting the defence counsel, C. O. Obiekwe, to ask the Attorney General and the NIS for explanations.

He told the court that the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Enugu Attorney General and the Nigeria Prisons, were doing everything possible to keep the BIM members in detention, knowing that they committed no offence.

"We are in a democracy and not a dictatorship as it is being exhibited in this matter. This case portrays this government as anti-democratic.

"I have gone to the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) and I was told that they have concluded their job and sent their report to the Attorney General.

"However, every effort I made to see the Attorney General failed. I have gone there up to six times. The last time I went, he said he was tired and did not want to see anybody," Obiekwe said.

He insisted they gave no genuine reasons for their failure to bring the accused persons to court, saying: "These people are freedom fighters, they have not committed any offence known to law and that is why I call this government dictators."

Nigeria

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