No fewer than 44 detained members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, have been set free by a Yenagoa Magistrates’ Court sitting in Bayelsa State.
Recall that the operatives of the Joint Military Task Force, code-named Operation Delta Safe had in October 2016 arrested the 44 IPOB members while meeting at a bar in Okaka area of Yenagoa, the state capital.
The suspects were later handed over to the police authorities for investigation and prosecution.
Subsequently, the police arraigned the pro-Biafra agitators on a three count charge of conspiracy, breach of public peace and unlawful gathering.
During Tuesday’s trial, the Presiding Magistrate, Penawei Mukoro, however, dismissed the charges.
The magistrate, who noted that the case against the detained 44 IPOB members had a “no-case submission,” subsequently discharged and acquitted them.
Magistrate Penawei Mukoro, struck out the case and discharged and acquitted the accused persons.
Mukoro held that all the accused persons had no case to answer as the prosecution was unable to institute a prima facie case against them.
Earlier, lawyer to the agitators, Kingsley Nwosu, had described the arrest and trial of his clients as a deliberate attempt to intimidate and violate the fundamental rights of people to freedom of assembly.
According to Nwosu, the prosecution failed to produce a credible witness to substantiate the three counts charges against his clients.
“It is a case where there is a serious intimidation. And the prosecution could not produce credible witness,” Nwosu had argued.