By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN—THE family of President of Benin Solidarity Movement, Curtis Ugbo, who has been in detention in the past three months, has written to the Edo State Government to adhere to the directive of the Edo State High Court by charging the accused formally to court.
It will be recalled that Ugbo was arrested and detained in Oko prison after he led a protest at the premises of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, where his group accused the company of allegedly neglecting their host communities.
But the state government viewed his action as a breach of the peace and charged him for treasonable felony. However, his trial has been marred by several adjournments, which forced the family, through their counsel, Olayiwola Afolabi, to write the state government through the Ministry of Justice to formally charge the accused to court.
The letter which was addressed to the Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Wole Iyamu, lamented that since the several attempts to secure his bail had been denied by the court, “it is only pertinent to conclude that the continued incarceration of our client since March 24, 2017 without a formal charge is against the spirit of the law.”
According to the letter, Olayiwola said that the learned Magistrate that initially presided over the case on March 24, 2017 directed the state to quickly issue the necessary advice in respect of the case.
“Till date, the state has refused to file the necessary charge against him. We believe that if they have anything against our client, they should be eager to charge him to court rather than keep him in prison custody without trial which is against the tenets of constitutional democracy,” it stated.