Court frees 44 IPOB members; dismisses charges

Some members of the Indigenous People of Biagra, detained since last October by the Joint Military Task Force in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, have been freed a Magistrate’s Court in Yenagoa.

The detained IPOB members, numbering 44, were freed on Tuesday shortly after the leader of the movement, Nnamdi Kanu, was granted bail by a federal high court in Abuja.

Penawei Mukoro, the presiding magistrate at the court in Yenagoa, dismissed the three counts of conspiracy, breach of public peace and unlawful gathering levelled against the 44 detainees by the police on the grounds of a ‘no-case submission’.

Mr. Kingsley Nwosu, counsel to the IPOB members, had argued a ‘no-case submission’ in defense of his clients before the court, describing their arrest as an act of intimidation. He noted that the Nigeria Police had not been able to produce a credible witness to reinforce its allegations against the IPOB members.

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“It is a case where there is a serious intimidation. And the prosecution could not produce credible witness,” Nwosu told the court.

In his ruling on Tuesday,Magistrate Penawei Mukoro, acquitted the accused persons of all the charges and asked that they be discharged immediately. He noted that the prosecution has not been able to institute a prima facie case against them.