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Eight IPOB members arrested in Umuahia

IPOB rejects June 12 Democracy Day

Eight out of the nine Juda­ism adherents arrested while praying at the Af­araukwu Umuahia country home of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, were Monday granted bail by the Umuahia High Court.

The worshipers, who were ar­rested by the police on Sunday May 13, had been remanded in the Afara Federal Prison after their arraignment at the magis­trate court on May 14 where they were charged for terrorism.

Chief magistrate, O. U Ugwu, had ordered that the accused be remanded in prison custody pending their arraignment in a High Court as the magistrate court lacked jurisdiction over their matter. He, however, chided the police for arraigning the ac­cused before a magistrate court although they knew it had no jurisdiction to entertain such a matter, describing it as a deliber­ate ploy to keep them in perpetu­al detention.

Meanwhile, six of the accused were arraigned at the High Court 1 presided over by the acting chief judge of the state, Justice Onuoha Ogwe who granted them bail in the sum of N1 mil­lion each.

The other three were arraigned in High Court 3 presid­ed over by Justice O. A Chijioke who granted two of them bail in the sum of N200,000 each, add­ing that their surety must have verifiable residence and should also deposit two copies of his re­cent photographs with the court.

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One of the accused was how­ever not granted bail as his file was alleged to have “gone miss­ing.” Their lawyer, Alloy Ejimak­or, however said he was going to stay behind and fight harder to also secure his bail.

Addressing newsmen later, Ejimakor expressed joy that af­ter nearly a month of incarcera­tion, the worshipers were able to get justice at last. He thanked the courts for their wisdom in granting them bail although he expressed concern that the bail conditions by the Court 1 were somewhat stringent unlike that of the Court 3.

Ejimakor vowed to inquire why the file of one of the accused suddenly went missing. He in­sisted that the accused were not terrorists contrary to claims by police, hence the decision of the court to grant them bail “be­cause the prosecution was not able to demonstrate proof of ev­idence”.

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The defense counsel also fault­ed the charge preferred against the accused saying it was defec­tive and vague”, and vowed to challenge the Abia state anti-ter­rorism law.

Ejimakor described the trial as religious persecution against the accused “simply because they are of Judaism, which is not among the two dominant re­ligions in Nigeria. He wondered how ordinary civilians in flow­ing white gown and praising Yahweh could be said to be en­gaging in threatening behaviour capable of frightening the police.

The lawyer regretted that any­body who seemed to be identify­ing with the IPOB leader, Kanu, had become a target of the secu­rity operatives. He vowed to chal­lenge the action of the security agencies against the religious rights of Judaism adherents and other freedom fighters both ‘na­tionally and internationally’.

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