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Abiri’s bail conditions varied, suit begins August 16

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The Magistrate Court, Wuse 2, yesterday varied the conditions for the bail granted Jones Abiri on terms relatively liberal compared to the former.

Abiri, who is facing a charge of criminal intimidation, is now required to produce two sureties, one of whom must be a Level 8 civil servant. The surety will present a bank statement, letter of appointment and letter of last promotion.

Otherwise, he may produce two sureties, one of who must be an executive member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and who must own a landed property in Abuja.

The address of the surety must be verifiable by the court.

The magistrate, Chukwuemeka Nweke, gave the ruling after taking arguments from the defence counsel, Samuel Ogala, and Department of State Services (DSS) counsel, Jamilu Amisu.

Ogala urged the court to vary the bail conditions on liberal terms and consider the fact that the defendant had been in DSS custody for two years.

He argued that since two years is the maximum sentence for the crime he was accused of, the issue of jumping bail should not arise.

Amisu, on his part, countered the application of the defendant, urging the court to discountenance the bail request in the written address and counter-affidavit.

However, the defence counsel said the prosecution never explained why the defendant should not be granted bail.

There is no reason to not grant the defendant bail, according to the magistrate. So, he toned down the bail conditions.

The court will hear the substantive suit on August 16.

The DSS accused Abiri of leading the Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, which has separatist inclinations.

Before his application to vary the bail condition last week, the defendant was asked to produce two civil servants of not less than Level 15 resident in Abuja as sureties, who would deposit their original appointment letters with the court.

Abiri, the publisher of Weekly Source magazine, who had been in DSS custody since July 2016, was arraigned last Thursday due to public outcry. He was granted bail in the sum of N2 million.


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Jones AbiriNUJ
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