FG arraigns lady for promoting IPOB’s activities on Facebook

Posted by News Express | 20 October 2022 | 775 times

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•An individual with handcuff on the hands
The Federal Government on Wednesday arraigned one Idara Godwin, also known as Idara Gold Biafra before the Federal High Court, Abuja, for promoting the activities of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on the Facebook social media platform.
In the three-count charge preferred against her, the defendant was also accused of concealing information that would have led to the apprehension of one Chuks Egwuatu, as well as being a member of the proscribed group.
She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge, following which trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, ordered her remand at the Suleja Correctional Centre, pending the commencement of trial slated for November 22.
Speaking shortly after her arraignment, her lawyer, Mr Nnaemeka Ejiofor, told journalists that the defendant was among the 24 IPOB members currently detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) without an order of court, adding that neither relatives of the detainees nor their lawyers knew the exact location of the detainees.
Ejiofor commended journalists for supporting his call for the government to either release the detainees unconditionally or charge them to court.
The lawyer had, during a press conference, raised the alarm over what he claimed as the unlawful arrest and detention of some Igbo citizens across the country for associating with Biafra
He alleged that since their arrest last year, all efforts to locate and interface with the detained IPOB members have been rebuffed by the authorities of the DSS.
According to him, both the military authorities and the DSS believed to be responsible for the ordeal of his clients have been giving conflicting and confusing information on the whereabouts of the people.
He said that while the DSS claimed that the detainees were in the military custody, the army authorities sworn to affidavit in the High Court to the effect that no member of IPOB was in their custody.
He, however, told journalists that Idara was brought to court on Wednesday from a military facility in Kainji, where she had told her lawyers that over 30 of them where taken to from Abuja.
Idara was arrested in Enugu last November and was brought to Abuja for investigation before her arraignment on Wednesday morning.
Count one of the charge read: “That you Idara Godwin AKA Idara Gold Biafra, female, adult, of Egbonna, Topland Amechi road, Agbani road, Enugu State, sometimes in 2021 at Enugu Local Government Area, Enugu State, within the jurisdiction of this Court did commit an offence to wit: you made series of posts on the Facebook social media platform wherein you promoted the activities of the Indigenous People Of Biofra (IFOB), a proscribed organisation, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 5 (1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013 and punishable under the same Section of the Act.” 
Besides Idara, who was arraigned on Wednesday, others allegedly held by the authorities include Ikechukwu Henry, Joy Udoh, Emeka Ngomadi, Pius Awoke, Chinedum Nwoha, Igwe Dike, Ogbonna Ajah, Kingsley Onovu, Ogbonna Ojima and Fortune Okerie.
Others are Joseph Eze, Emmanuel Chinonso, Uket Godwin, Ogbonna Ndubusi, Eze Chukwuemeka, Ibeleme Torchukwu, Emmanuel Ike, Reverend Cletus Egole, Pastor Phillip Egole, Chinonso Anyanwu, Kelechi Okeke, Godspower Chilemu and Chukwuma Nwaokike.
Ejiofor, who accused DSS of flagrant breach of fundamental rights of the detainess, lamented that most of them, especially the clergymen, were innocent but were unlawfully arrested in their various churches.
He also alleged that others were picked up in the night thereby making it difficult for families of the detainess to ascertain the identities of the security operatives.
He pleaded with DSS authorities to arraign the detainess in law courts if they have committed any known offence instead of keeping them in unknown detention camps in breach of the 1999 Constitution.
“At a point, we were told that they have been moved to a military camp in Kainji where Boko Haram terrorists are being kept but unfortunately, all findings on our part yielded no fruitful results.
“As I am addressing you, I can confirm to you that since 2021 when my clients were unlawfully arrested, no one has been allowed to see or have access to them. Our security should do their work diligently and in line with provisions of the law.
“We are not in a Banana republic. We are in a democratic era and everything we are doing, including our security agencies, must be in tune with our laws,” he said.
At the media briefing attended by wives, children and relatives of the detainees, the counsel pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to wade into the plight of his clients by ordering security agencies to file criminal charges against them in law court so as to protect the sanctity of human rights. (THISDAY)

Source: News Express

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