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MASSOB petitions NJC over detained members

By Pamela Eboh, Awka on 23/06/2016

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Views: 2,918

The Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over continued detention of 19 of its members, including a cripple, in prison custody since April, 2007.

Speaking to Journalists in Awka, on Wednesday, MASSOB leader, Mr. Uchenna Madu said that the continuous adjournment of their case at the Federal High Court, Awka since the commencement of the case in 2007 has affected the families of some of the detainees, saying that many of them are bread winners of their families and their detention has led to their children dropping out of schools.

According to Madu, the affected persons are facing a seven count charge which include act of treason, kidnap and terrorism but ‘have never been given any chance to have a say in court nor granted bail according to the law.

He said, “We have appealed severally as a body for these people to be released on bail and we produce them anytime they are wanted in court to no avail,

“You can imagine what the families of these people have been going through since 2007. Some were forced to relocate to their villages because the bread winner is no longer there to cater for them while some could not afford to sustain their wards in school, hence they dropped out. It is not fair.

“The pro-Biafra groups have been languishing in prison since 2007. Three judges had handled the matter, yet they had not been granted bail. Justice Peter Olayiwola started the matter and handed over to Justice Ojukwu before Justice M.I. Abubakar took over. Justice Abubakar was later transferred to Abakaliki, yet he has not allowed the new Judge in Awka to handle the matter as he comes occasionally from Abakaliki to preside over the MASSOB case saying that he has been directed to continue with the case.

“Since nine years, the prosecution has called only three witnesses and our lawyer has not been allowed to call any witness. What surprised us was that the judge said he would transfer the case file from Awka to Abakaliki which, to us, will make the attendance to court sittings more difficult for us.

“We are also surprised that he wants to transfer the case to Abakaliki when we had taken a fresh plea from the new judge in Awka. At the last sitting, Justice Abubakar was absent and we were informed that he had adjourned the matter to October 26 this year.

“As far as we are concerned according to Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, the Judge has abused the rights of the detainees by refusing to grant them bail and deliberately frustrating the hearing of the matter. Why can’t he allow the new Judge presiding here in Awka to continue with the matter?”

When the case of the 19 accused members of MASSOB was called up on Monday, June 20, 2016 in Awka, the presiding judge was absent and the members cried and wailed uncontrollably wondering why they should be in detention for nine years without being granted bail or have the case brought to rest through a pronouncement.

The detained MASSOB members are Sebastian Amadi, Ikechukwu Chikwem, Peter Igbokwe, Uchenna Nicholas, Uche Idika, Casmir Odokara, Eni Kalu, Chidiebere Ekwem, Chima Asoh (cripple), Ojimba Anyanwu, Ndubuisi Okanu, Emmanuel Orji, Michael Okezie, Ikechukwu Aghari, Mmaduabuchi Asika, Chinwike Irondi, Chukwuma Kalu, Innocent Orji and Onyekachi Orji (female).

Recently, the MASSOB leader called on the governors of Anambra and Imo states to facilitate the release of the detained MASSOB leaders in the interest of justice and equity.


Source News Express

Posted 23/06/2016 04:52:02 AM





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