A Magistrate court in the Owerri, Imo State capital has ordered the discharge of 75 persons who have been in prison for nearly three months over allegations of plotting to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari and unseat Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The 75 were part of 106 persons remanded in prison custody since May 2021 following a spate of sweeping raids and random arrests across the state
Speaking on the development, the Chairman of Owerri branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Barr. Jude Ogamba, noted that the release of the 75 was facilitated by the NBA which set up a team of lawyers led by the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the association, Barr. Eke Onyeforo.
He noted that the state could not sustain charges against the suspects as the NBA team brought an application for their discharge and release from custody.
Speaking also, Onyeforo noted that of the 106 dumped in prison only seven persons are still remaining in custody while five persons are missing and cannot yet be accounted for by the detaining authorities.
Ruling on the applications, the Chief Magistrate in charge of Court 1, Owerri, S.K. Kadurumba while ordering the unconditional discharge of the 75 suspects, also ordered in separate applications, the Commissioner of Police to produce the five missing suspects who he said were being held at the Anti-Kidnapping Unit of the Imo State Police Command.
It will be recalled that the trial of the suspects was first held on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at the car park of the Shell Camp Police Division, Owerri and later on Friday, May 22, 2021, shifted to the conference hall of the State Commissioner of Police who is the plaintiff in the suit.
The 106 suspects were remanded on a seven-count charge in a suit marked No/OW/218c/2021. (New Telegraph)