Court Grants Bail to Seven Suspects Involved in Alleged Invasion of Edo Assembly

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

Edo State High Court in Benin-city yesterday granted bail to seven suspects facing trial for alleged invasion of the state House of Assembly complex on August 6, 2020.

The suspects: Wilfred Ogbewe, 52; Igbinobono Collins, 26; Salami Osayomore, 25; Odion Osayande,23; Morgan Uwanboe, 47; Ifeoluwa Oladele, 36, and Agbonrere Festus, 25, were arrested for allegedly invading the state House of Assembly premises in a manner that caused breach of peace.

The suspects were arrested by a team of policemen led by one Superintendent Dahiru Ibrahim from Abuja at the premises of the state Assembly on the said date.

Granting the bail, the presiding Judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwoba, admitted the suspects to bail in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each in like sum.

Ikponmwoba said the surety must be gainfully employed and resides within the court’s jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, the judge adjourned to September 8 for the judgment on their fundamental human rights

Counsel to the applicants, Mr. Matthias Obayuwana, who filed a 24 paragraphs affidavit in support of his motion, submitted that the motion was aimed at enforcing the fundamental human rights to liberty and personal dignity, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the applicants by the police authorities.

He submitted that the applicants were arrested while performing their lawful duties as members of the state vigilante, who were at the Assembly complex at the instance of state government to protect the place from being vandalised by hoodlums on that fateful day.

Obayuwana also told the court that the applicants were arrested by a team of policemen led by one Supol Dahiru Ibrahim and taken to Force Headquarters in Abuja, where they were tortured and detained under unfavourable condition without food.

He emphasized that the rights to personal dignity is not such that can be negotiated, waived, neglected or overlooked.

Citing sections of the law to drive home his points, the applicants’ counsel told the court that the respondents did not present any warrant of arrest, petition or complaint by anyone against the applicants on the basis of which they acted in the early hours of that day, “an exercise that was ill-motivated and smacked of partisanship in the electoral politics of the state.”

He urged the court to accordingly restrain the respondents, their agents, servants and privies from further interference with the fundamental human rights to liberty of the applicants in the discharge of their duties as vigilante member employed by the state government for the protection of government properties.

Obayuwana also prayed the court among other reliefs to direct the respondents jointly and severally to apologise to the applicants in writing and publish same in at least one national daily for the unwarranted infringement of their fundamental rights to liberty pursuant to section 35(6) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).