Court grants bail to three IPOB members
A federal high court sitting in Awka Monday granted bail, on liberal terms, to three members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who are standing trial of conspiracy and illegal possession of flags bearing IPOB.
The three IPOB members, Ugwu Friday, Emeka Okoye and Chinwekele Blessed were arrested on April 6, 2018 by the Police in Nnewi on their way from a burial ceremony for allegedly possessing IPOB flags, a development the police claimed was punishable under section 2 (3) (i) of the terrorism prevention act, 2011 since the group had been proscribed.
They were, therefore, charged at the Federal High Court, in Awka. When the matter came up for hearing, Justice H. Oweibo had granted the accused members bail after listening to the submissions of their Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, who informed the court that an application for stay of execution of the proscription of the IPOB was still pending
before the Court of Appeal, Abuja.
He had also argued that there was a likelihood of the acquittal or dismissal of the proscription order based on the several challenges to it before the national and international courts and tribunals.
Justice Oweibo, therefore, granted bail on the accused on the condition of provision of two sureties that includes a Civil Servant on grade level 08 and above and another “responsible” person with tax clearance certificate and adjourned the matter to May 2, to enable the Prosecution to consolidate the charges into one.
Ejimakor, who hailed the ruling of the court, said he was prepared for the next trial date, adding however that he was disturbed that four members of the IPOB who are facing far less serious charges than the ones in Awka had been detained since 2015.
He stated that while the Awka matter for which bail was granted on first application and on liberal terms carried 20 years imprisonment if the defendants were found guilty, those of Abuja which borders of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony carried 5 – 7 years imprisonment.
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