Court grants N500,000 bail to Edo Assembly invaders

The Edo State High Court sitting in Benin yesterday granted bail to seven suspects, who are facing trial over alleged invasion of the Edo House of Assembly complex.

The suspects are Wilfred Ogbewe, 52, Igbinobono Collins, 26, Salami Osayomore, 25, Odion Osayande, 23, Morgan Uwanboe, 47, Ifeoluwa Oladele, 36, and Agbonrere Festus, 25.

The judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwoba, admitted the arrayed suspects to bail in the sum of N500,000 with a surety each in like sum. Justice Ikponmwoba said the sureties must be gainfully employed and reside within the court’s jurisdiction.

The suspects allegedly invaded the state House of Assembly premises in Benin in a manner that caused breach of peace and were arrested by policemen at the premises of the Edo House of Assembly on the said date. The matter was adjourned to September 8.

Counsel to the applicants, Mr Matthias Obayuwana, who filed a 24 paragraphs affidavit in support of his motion, submitted that the motion was aimed at enforcing the fundamental rights to liberty and personal dignity, freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of the applicants by the police authorities.

He submitted that the applicants were arrested while performing their lawful duties as members of the state vigilante group who were at the Assembly complex at the instance of state government to protect the place from being vandalized by hoodlums on that fateful day.

Obayuwana also told the court that the applicants were arrested by a team of policemen led by one Supol Dahiru Ibrahim and taken to Force Headquarters Abuja where they were tortured and detained under unfavourable condition without food.

He stressed that the rights to personal dignity is not such that can be negotiated, waived, neglected or overlooked. Citing sections of the law to buttress his argument, the applicants’ counsel told the court that the respondents did not present any warrant of arrest, petition or complaint by anyone against the applicants on the basis of which they acted in the early hours of that day, an exercise that was ill-motivated and which smacks of partisanship in the electoral politics of Edo State.

He urged the court to accordingly, restrain the respondents, their agents, servants and privies from further interference with the fundamental human rights to liberty of the applicants in the discharge of their duties as vigilante employed by the Edo State government for the protection of government properties.

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