|The 36 Accused Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB)|
The 36 brethren who were arrested on 24th April, 2016 were taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) in Enugu from where there were transferred to the state Criminal and Investigation Department(CID) and then taken to court on 28th April, 2016 when they were granted bail.
The resumed hearing of their case yesterday was stalled owing to the absence of the Prosecutor of the NPF in Court.
When asked by the Magistrate judge if he contacted the Prosecutor, the defending lawyer of the IPOB members, Barrister Nicholas Egbonwonu confirmed that he contacted him but due to some prevailing engagements, he could not come to court for the trial which was the excuse he(Prosecutor) offered.
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Barrister Egbonwonu further posited that the Prosecutor had tendered for the court to grant him a long adjournment pending when he receives a consent from the Attorney General(AG) to proclaiming IPOB as an unlawful society.
He also approved the court to grant the Police Prosecutor the said adjournment, saying that at the end after which they could not get the consent, the case should be struck out.
Citing section 101, 30(2) of the Criminal law of the Magistrate, the defense lawyer prayed the court that failure of the Prosecutor to produce a consent will be warranted that his clients be discharged and acquitted.
The Magistrate in her wisdom, said that the trial cannot continue because of the absence of the Prosecutor. In view of the foregoing, she adjourned the case to 1st of July to grant the Prosecutor enough time to provide the consent.
Speaking to BIAFRA WRITERS after the Court proceedings, Barrister Egbonwonu further stated that “the Prosecutor is not here, neither was there an availability of the consent which is necessary for the trial to proceed.”
|Barrister Nicholas Egbonwonu And Chukwuemeka Chimerue Of Biafra Writers|
He also stated that the stance of the whole charges levied against the 36 defendants is bordering on IPOB being an unlawful society.
He said: “There is nothing like an unlawful society, IPOB is not an unlawful society. There are certain things one does before a society will be proclaimed as unlawful. It is not left for the Prosecution to determine whether a society is unlawful or not. It is the Governor of the state as it affects the state or the President of the Federation that can proclaim a society unlawful after ascertaining the necessary conditions which does not even lie on the powers of the Police to carry out.”
When asked about the failure of the Prosecutor to be present in court, he said that it was surprising to him that after been fully aware of the date of the court, the Prosecutor still missed it.
He said: “I was surprised he didn't show up in court today, even after knowing that we are billed for a case today.” “When I came to court, I contacted him on phone and he informed me that he is not going to come, that he is at Oji River for a police promotion interview/exam which is not a good excuse. I just see it as a prank for them to delay the trial because they don't have anything to offer. They don't have any evidence; just a trump up charge to punish innocent people unnecessarily based on unlawful society which IPOB is not because the state authorities has not proclaimed it as such.” he posited.
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He continued, saying: “the Magistrate in her wisdom ruled that she is going to oblige them the long date for them to provide the Attorney General’s consent whether or not the case will continue.”
In obtaining the AG’s consent, he said that he is aware that no sane AG will grant them consent or proclaim IPOB an unlawful society but they are only acting to subvert justice.
In his very words he said: “So let us grant them the long date for them not to have an excuse which I know, no AG in his right senses will proclaim a society unlawful; definitely this is not going to come forth. So let them take the time and do whatever they want to do and then on the next adjournment date which is Friday, 1st of July, if there is no availability of the consent, the matter cannot proceed more than that, the whole of the accused persons will be discharged and acquitted.”
On the part of the defendants, they were only worried that their means of livelihood which is the tricycles has been confiscated from them by the Police.
Three of them who spoke to BIAFRA WRITERS said that since they were arrested along with the tricycles and granted bail, the police have been holding the tricycles otherwise known as Keke Napep which they said is six in number.
They expressed bitterness that since then, they have not been able to do anything meaningful to help themselves.
Written By Chukwuemeka Chimerue.
Reporting for Biafra Writers.