A Magistrate court in Umuahia yesterday granted bail to the 26 members of the pro-Biafra groups who were arrested Monday during their protests over the continued detention of their leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
The 26 men granted bail were listed in the charge sheet as members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) even though the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was also deeply involved in the protest.
The activists were arraigned on a three count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, belonging to an unlawful society, and possession of one cutlass, 12 MASSOB T-shirts, identity cards of MASSOB “which is an unlawful society”.
The charge said: “the accused and others now at large, who were arrested by the police on the 18th day of January 2016 at Aba, Abia state, conspired among themselves to commit the offences which are punishable under Sections 516A(1), 64(a) and 65 (4) of the Criminal code Cap 80 Vol. III Laws of Abia State 2005.”
The police prosecutor, Mr. O. O Uche, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) urged the court to remand the pro-Biafra activists in prison custody “to make them learn their lessons”.
But the defence counsels, Barristers Nwabueze Nwankwo and E.O Nkere opposed the prosecutor and reminded the court that the offences for which the accused were arraigned were bailable and therefore pleaded with the trial Magistrate to grant them bail.
Ruling on the bail application, the Magistrate, Mrs. Linda Ugboaja granted them bail in the sum of N100, 000 and one surety each and the surety must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must submit two recent passport photographs to the court.
The matter was adjourned to February 24, 2016 for hearing.
Ohanaeze flays killings
Meantime, the Ohaneze Youth Council [OYC] has taken a swipe at what it described as the frequent killing of pro-Biafra group members by security operatives, especially soldiers, while protesting against the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, saying that Igbo land was not at war with anybody.
Ohaneze youths accused the Nigerian army and other security agencies of virtually converting Igbo land to a theatre of war, insisting that Ndigbo are not waging any war with the Federal Government.
OYC spoke while reacting to Monday’s clash between security operatives and IPOB members in Abia, Enugu and Delta States which left some IPOB members dead and scores wounded.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued by its National President, Comrade Okechukwu Isiguzoro and the Secretary-General, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, the OYC called for the investigation of the killings with a view to “bringing to book the trigger-happy security operatives”.
The group warned security agencies to stop “killing unarmed civilians who committed no crime but only exercised their fundamental human rights”.
According to them, rather than killing the protesters, the Federal Government should concern itself with finding lasting solutions to the cause of the renewed agitation for Biafra, saying that the use of brute force was not the best way to solve the problem of the protesters but “through dialogue and positive engagement of the agitators”.
The group therefore appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the pleas by prominent Igbo leaders and groups as well as other Nigerians and release the detained IPOB leader.
“We appeal to President Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu to Ohanaeze, and we assure him that we will prevail on the protesters to stop these festering demonstrations capable of consuming Nigeria if allowed to escalate.
“It is better to resolve a quarrel than to stop a war. The Federal Government should please save Nigeria this needless bloodbath before it is too late”, OYC pleaded. (Vanguard)