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Police hold Enugu youths despite court order

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There is concern over an alleged refusal of the police to release three youths of Enugu State who have been in their custody in Abuja since June 16, despite subsisting court orders.
 
The trio of Akpa Francis, Obinna Mamah and Joshua Ogbonna, said to be the ‘admins’ of a WhatsApp platform called ‘Enugu Political Arena,’ were arrested following comments on the platform alleged to have offended certain persons at the echelon of power in the state.

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They were invited by the police following a petition by one Ifeanyi Ossai to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), complaining about character assassination, among others.
 
It was gathered that the trio went to Abuja to honour their invitations, but was arrested and put in police custody since then, without prosecution.
 
After failed efforts to get them released on bail, a team of 15 lawyers approached a Federal High Court, Enugu, presided over by Justice I.N Buba, in a suit FHC/EN/CS/96/2021, where they sought an order to enforce their fundamental rights to life, liberty and dignity.
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They also filed a motion ex parte, praying an interim order directing the police to stay all actions relating to or connected with the complaints.
 
The judge had, on July 1, directed the police to stay all actions and release the applicants, having been granted bail by the court.
 
However, despite the order, the youths are still in detention.
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A counsel to the youths, Valentine Umeha, told reporters at the weekend that the court order and other processes relating to the matter had been served on the police in Abuja, expressing worry that “until now, the three boys are still held in police custody.”
 
He, however, said they had initiated committal proceedings against the police, stressing that it was said that “an offence that ordinarily should be a bailable one is being turned into something else.”
 
Efforts to reach the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Frank Mba, to speak on the development were not successful.

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