The Rivers State Police Command yesterday arraigned 45 members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, and the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, before two Chief Magistrate Courts sitting in Port Harcourt for treason over their alleged involvement in the Friday agitation in Rivers State.
The members of the IPOB and the MASSOB had on Friday organised a solidarity rally to commemorate the swearing in of Mr. Donald Trump as the new American president. But the security operatives in the state arrested over 65 of them and disrupted the rally, claiming that the Pro-Biafran agitators did not obtain a permit before commencing the peaceful protest.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Francis Odesanya, charged the arrested persons to court on two counts of conspiracy to felony and treasonable felony.
Seven of them were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Obi Amadi-Nna and the remaining 38 brought before the Chief Magistrate, Sokari Andrew-Jaja.
The Charge sheet No: PMC/112C/2017 read: “That you Baco Johnson, Cosmos Monday, Chinonso Kalu and 42 others on January 20, 2017 at Garrison Bus stop, Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: treasonable felony and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516A (1) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.
“That you, Baco Johnson, Cosmos Monday, Chinonso Kalu and 42 others on the same date and time and place in the aforesaid Magisterial District did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to force or compel the president to change his measures, by displaying flags and other items of the Biafran Republic with such intention by an act to take over the government of Nigeria by force and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Cap 37 Vol II Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999.”
When the court sat around 6:22 pm, the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Sokari Andrew-Jaja, adjourned the matter till January 30 and asked the parties involved in the matter to appear on the adjourned date with their written addresses.
Andrew-Jaja stated that the adjourned date would be for the adoption of written addresses, in order to determine whether the court has the jurisdiction to hear the matter and remanded the suspects in prison. However, the Chief Magistrate, Mr. Obi Amadi-Nna, who received seven of the suspects also remanded them in prison and adjourned till January 30 for adoption of written addresses on the same offences.