76 Enugu villagers arrested over clash with Fulani herdsmen get bail after spending 15 days in detention

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 2 April 2016 | 3,866 times

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The 76 villagers from Awgu in Enugu State clamped into detention in Umuahia, Abia State, for 15 days were Friday granted bail by two magistrate courts.

The Awgu 76 were arrested over a clash with Fulani herdsmen, by soldiers who bundled them to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of Abia State Police Command which, in turn, herded them to court on March 17, 2016, where they were denied bail and remanded in prison.

The accused persons are facing a five-count charge of felony, including arson, burning down of 90 houses at Obinwanne Fulani Community Settlement in Umunneochi, Abia State, unlawful possession of firearms, and  being armed with 42 machetes.

In Court 2 presided over by Chief Magistrate I. U. Kalu, where about 47 of the accused persons were arraigned, the Magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N200,000 each while the traditional ruler of the Umuleshi community, Igwe Godwin Nwobi, and two others recommended by him, would serve as their suretees.

In Court 5, where another batch of 22 accused of the Awgu 76 were arraigned, Magistrate Mary Emenike granted them bail in the sum of N200,000 each and five suretees who must be resident in Umuahia or Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State and two passport photographs each which must be submitted to the court.

Counsel to the accused persons, Barrister Damian Uche Ajah and Barrister Uwaezuoke Kelechi, in their separate reactions, expressed happiness that their clients have regained their freedom after about two weeks in detention.

“I am satisfied with the fact that my clients were granted bail. They have breathed the air of freedom and we are ready for the trial proper,” Ajah said.

Also, the member representing Awgu South state constituency, Hon. Uduji Nelson, said he was grateful to God that his people have been granted bail and hinted that the Enugu State Governor, Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, has promised to bring a lasting solution to the problem between the Ugwuleshi community and the Fulani herdsmen.

“I am glad that my subjects have been released. At least, I can sleep well today,” said the traditional ruler who literally moved his place to Umuahia to secure the release of the Awgu 76.

“I am grateful to our governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the governor of Enugu state for coming to rescue my people. I thank him very, very well,” he added.

He appealed to the Federal Government to look into the menace of the Fulani herdsmen and find a lasting solution to it.

•Photo by Boniface Okoro shows some of the Awgu 76 on Friday after being granted bail by two magistrate courts in Umuahia, Abia State, after 15 days in prison custody.

Source: News Express

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