Journalist Abiri arraigned after two years in DSS detention
The Department of State Services (DSS) Thursday arraigned Jones Abiri at a magistrate court in Abuja.
Abiri has been in DSS custody since his arrest in July 2016.
The DSS alleged Abiri of being a militant and a leader of the Joint Revolutionary Council of the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, which has separatist inclinations and known ties with criminal gangs.
The agency said the detainee “confessed and owned up” to vandalising and bombing oil pipelines belonging to international oil companies Agip and Shell in early July 2016, sending threat messages to management of both oil companies demanding a total of N750 million payment, threatening to launch missile attacks against the Presidential Villa and selected targets in Abuja, and masterminding the rumour in 2016 that the military was planning a coup against President Muhammadu Buhari.
The magistrate, Chukwuemeka Nweke on Thursday, granted the journalist a bail in the sum of N2 million.
Abiri was asked to produce two civil servants resident in Abuja who will stand as sureties who are not to be less grade level 15 officials and they will have to deposit their original appointment letters with the court.
Counsel to Abiri, Marshal Abubakar informed the court of their application to vary the bail condition.
Abubakar argued that his client should be granted on self-recongnisance because he is a journalist.
The magistrate, however, fixed August 8 to hear the application and also fixed August 16 for the commencement of Abiri’s trial.
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