A Magistrates’ Court at Karu in Abuja on Friday granted seven persons from the Shiite group bail of N100,000 each on the three-count charges against each of them. The seven defendants were charged for the offences of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public peace, contrary to sections 97, 102 and 114 of the Penal Code. The defendants are Ibrahim Dogo, Khadija Mohammed, Rukaiya Salisu, Mohammed Habib, Aminu Sani, Leminu Sani and Aisha Ameen, and all were arraigned for the same offences.
The Magistrate, Abubakar Umaru, granted the defendants a bail with two reliable and reasonable sureties each in like sum. He said the sureties must be Civil or Public Servants with a Grade level of 8 and above. Umaru also said the sureties must live within the jurisdiction of the court and their addresses must be verified by the officer of the court. He added that the sureties must submit their passport photographs and national identity cards with the court. State Prosecutor, Patrick Ogele, had earlier told the court the defendants were arrested by CSP Nwakeme Ezenwa, at Dakwa Road in Deidei, along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway on Thursday.
The prosecutor said Ezenwa, a police officer attached to the Zuba FCT Police Command, reported the matter to the FCT Commissioner of Police. He said the defendants were arrested after they gathered on the road while holding up two large brand new posters with the face of the Shiite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, on it.
According to Ogele, the defendants gathered with a common intention of going into the city, and specifically to the court premises where the trial of their leader was ongoing. Ogele alleged that the intention of the defendants was to storm the court premises and disturb public peace. He told the court that during police investigations, the defendants could not give a satisfactory explanation to the police and only identified themselves as members of the Shiite group. The prosecutor had also applied that the defendants not be granted bail by the court. He had asked the court to consider the nature of the offences and prevailing circumstances of their arrest.
“The court also needs to consider the activities of the group in the country and the fact that the defendants are all residents of Kaduna state,’’ Ogele had said. Counsel to the defendants, Bala Adukwu, had also earlier prayed the court to grant his clients bail on liberal terms and that they were resident within Nigeria. After listening to the charges, the seven defendants all pleaded not guilty and the matter was adjourned till Oct. 26 for hearing.