- As police arraign 20 over protests
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has warned that his administration would not tolerate any further secessionist protests by anybody or group in the state.
The warning came as a Magistrate Court sitting in Port Harcourt on Wednesday remanded 20 persons who were arraigned by the police for participating in Tuesday’s pro-Biafra protest in Port Harcourt.
In a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Sir Opunabo Inko-Taria, Wike said he was peeved by the Tuesday protest by people who claimed to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Port -Harcourt.
He emphasised the indivisibility of Nigeria, adding that the actions of the IPOB members were capable of stimulating chaos in the state.
“As the chief security officer of Rivers State who swore to protect lives and property, I will not tolerate actions that will lead to the breakdown of law and order in the state,” he warned.
He dissociated himself and the state from the protest and warned that the coercive legal machinery of the state would be set in motion against any group that would pierce the peace in the state.
He enjoined residents and all those transacting businesses in state to go about their lawful duties, assuring them of safety.
The accused persons who were arrested and arraigned by police officers from Zone 6 are facing three-count charge in Suit Number PMC/1195c/2015.
The accused persons include Benson Sunday, Emmanuel Ali, Ukeme Monday, Chibuzor Eechina, Charles Eze, Egbo Okechukwu, Chibona Ifion, John Douglas, Ezenwa Alphonus, Wori Endurance, Chinomere Nwolu, Henry Eze Friday Uzunwa, Igbodo Abio, Akaniyene Uwem, Eni Iboro, Obinna Stephen, Monday Ocha, Obinna Ibekwe and kingsely Ezengorie.
According to the prosecutor, Mr. A. A Ajagha, the accused persons allegedly without lawful authority demonstrated and chanted war songs which caused panic in the neighbourhood, instilled fear on reasonable grounds with intent to intimidate or cause panic within the state and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 37 (1) of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.
Count two states, “That you Benson Sunday, Emmanuel Ali, Ukeme Monday, Chibuzor Eechina, Charles Eze, Egbo Okechukwu, Chibona Ifion, John Douglas, Ezenwa Alphonus, Wori Endurance, Chinomere Nwolu, Henry Eze Friday Uzunwa, Igbodo Abio, Akaniyene Uwem, Eni Iboro, Obinna Stephen, Monday Ocha, Obinna Ibekwe and kingsely Ezengorie and others at large on 20th day of October, 2015 at about 1400hours at Ikwerre road Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District did wilfully and unlawfully damaged the Nigerian flag hoisted at Zenith Bank Plc Ikoku branch, Port Harcourt and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 451 of the Criminal Code, Cap C38 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004.”
Ugwueze I.O, Destiny S.I Chima and other three lawyers who represented the accused persons applied for their bail.
Ruling on the bail application, the trial Chief Magistrate, S.D Andrew-Jaja, said his court lackedjurisdiction to try the matter, but following the arguments of lawyers to the accused persons, he adjourned the case till October 27 to enable the counsel address the court on the issue of bail.
The Chief Magistrate further remanded the accused persons in the prison custody till the adjourned date.