Supreme Court judgement: 38 Nasarawa ‘rioters’ denied bail
Some of the protesters during one of the protests in Nasarawa
Published By: Ayorinde Oluokun
By NKRUMAH BANKONG-OBI/Lafia
The 38 suspected rioters who were arrested last Friday for protesting the affirmation of Governor Abdullahi Sule as the validly elected governor of Nasarawa State by the Supreme Court have been denied bail by a Chief Magistrate Court, Lafia.
The accused, made up of 34 females and four males were picked up by the police for allegedly breaching public peace during the protest in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital.
Their bail application has been shifted to Thursday for hearing.
Supporters of the candidate of David Emmanuel Ombugadu, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party had been holding protests within the premises of the Party, since the police banned all forms of protests in the last in March last year.
It is still unclear, if the accused entered a plea when they were arraigned in court on Friday before they were detained in the Correctional Center.
On Monday when the matter came up for hearing, the Chief Magistrate adjourned the case to Thursday for hearing of the bail application of the accused.
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Mohammed Abdullahi Lanze, the presiding Chief magistrate took the arrived at the decision after listening to arguments by the prosecution and defence attorneys on the propriety or otherwise of granting the accused bail.
The bail application was filed last Friday last by Ayiwulu Baba Ayiwulu, counsel for the defendants but was not granted by the Chief Magistrate.
At the hearing on Monday, counsel to the defendants, Ayiwulu relied on the relevant points of law to support his plea that the court tempers justice with mercy and grant the accused bail.
The Police lawyer, Danjuma Allu argued that the complainant had seven days to reply to the bail application and therefore urged the court to grant him a short date to reply to the points raised by the defence lawyer, in accordance with the provisions of the law
While adjourning the case to Thursday for the hearing of the application, Chief Magistrate Lanze ordered the Commissioner of police to produce the defendants in court on the next adjourned date for hearing of the bail application.
Speaking to reporters after the court session, coordinator of Community Initiative for Character Modeling and Entrepreneurship Development, a civil society group, Kefas Tiga described as disheartening a situation where some breastfeeding women with their children and other sick women are being held despite an application by legal counsel for the court to grant them bail.
He called on other civil society advocacy groups to wake up to the challenges being faced by the women by speaking up against some things that happen in the country that contravene the fundamental human rights of individuals in the society.
“These people who were arrested were not part of the protests that started from 19 March, 2023. These protests have been peaceful” Tega stated.
The March 18, 2023 governorship election won by Governor Sule has polarized the State across religious, ethnic and political party lines.