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Biafra agitators

Thirteen people suspected to be members of pro-Biafra groups, Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, and Biafran Independent Movement, BIM, arrested on May 30, and arraigned before an Enugu magistrate court, have cried out for justice.
The suspects, who felt that their trial was being delayed unnecessarily, have petitioned the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Enugu State, over alleged police intimidation and delay tactics in their trial.
The accused persons were granted bail with the sum of N100, 000 each on their arraignment, following which they were released from prison custody after the fulfilment of the bail condition.
However, on the last date of adjournment, last Thursday, June 23, 2016, the Magistrate, his worship, E.N Alukwu told the suspects and their lawyer that advice was not received by the court from the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
The matter was therefore further adjourned to June 28, 2016.
Piqued by the development, the accused persons, through their legal counsel, C. O. Z. Obiekwe, Esq, petitioned the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Enugu State, a copy of the petition was made available to Nigerian Pilot.
In the petition entitled, “Petition against the Intimidation of 13 Members of MASSOB Arraigned on 31st May, 2016 in Chief Magistrate’s Court 6 Enugu in Charge No. ME/245/2016 (COP Vs Eze Eugene & 12 Ors)”, the counsel to MASSOB members deplored the delay in the trial and requested for the speeding up of the process.
He said, “It is true that Accused persons have been granted bail but do not forget that they are private business men or self employed men who have families to fend for. Therefore, this kind of case is supposed to receive quick attention because of its explosive nature.
“Sir, please note that these people were in the past framed with treason because according to police, MASSOB was a proscribed organisation. In all the cases we handled for MASSOB, police never tendered any law proscribing MASSOB. Over five cases we defended them were either dismissed or struck out.
“Therefore, what the police are doing is to dispirit and frustrate them. The MASSOB members are victimised with the intention to stop them from agitating for Biafra.
“Sir, kindly intervene and cause the DPP to speed the advice in order to minimise the sufferings of the accused persons,” he pleaded.
It would be recalled that the accused persons were arrested on May 30, at Edinburgh Ogui axis of Enugu State, on the day they were commemorating the 49 years of declaration of Biafra.
The police, through the state Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department, carried out the arraignment of the suspects the following day, according to the Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Superintendent Ebere Amaraizu.
“They were arraigned on 31/5/16 to Court 6 presided by E.N Alukwu in the Enugu North magisterial District Holden at Enugu in charge No 245c/2016 for belonging to unlawful society called movement for Actualisation of the Sovereign state of Biafra (MASSOB) and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 495(a) of the criminal code cap 30 vol.11 laws of Enugu state of Nigeria 2004.
“Further, they were arraigned for taking part in an unlawful Assembly on the said date and place to wit; Assemble of movement for Actualisation of the sovereign state of BIAFRA (MASSOB) and thereby committing an offence punishable under section 106 of the criminal code cap 30 vol.11 laws of Enugu State of Nigeria amongst other charges.”
The suspects pleaded not guilty to each of the counts as the case was adjourned to June 23, 2016 for hearing.

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