Nigeria: Alleged Murder - Court Remands 60 Shiite Members in Custodial Centres

11 December 2019

An FCT High Court in Apo has sent 60 members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise called Shi'ite Group, to the custodial centres in Kuje, Abuja and Suleja, Niger State on remand.

The 60 defendants, who were arrested during the July 22 protest at the Federal Secretariat area of Abuja, which led to the death of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar and Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member with Channels Television, were arraigned before the court on November 27 by the FCT Command of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF).

They were arraigned on charges bordering on homicide, disturbances of public peace and destruction of government properties.

At the resumed hearing yesterday, Justice Sulaiman Belgore struck out an application for bail for the defendants having been withdrawn by the defence counsel with no objection from the prosecution.

The counsel, Bala Dakum, withdrew the application in order to file separate applications for the defendants.

Consequent upon this, the counsel for the prosecution, Simon Lough, requested that the defendants should be remanded in Kuje and Suleja custodial centres. He asked that the 54 male defendants should be remanded at Kuje, while the remaining six defendants, who are females, be sent to Suleja on remand.

He also applied that trial of the defendants be held where they are remanded for convenience, adding that the trial should be given an accelerated hearing considering their number.

Ruling on the applications, Justice Belgore held that without objection from the counsel for the defendants, "the defendants are to be remanded at Kuje and Suleja correctional yards. Trial to be held in Kuje correctional yard."

The judge then adjourned till February 5, 2020 for commencement of trial, which he held would be on daily basis.

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