A high court sitting in the Apo area of Abuja has remanded 60 members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise called the Shiite group to Kuje prison in Abuja and Suleja prison in Niger State on remand.
The 60 proscribed IMN members were arrested during the July 22 bloody protest at the Federal Secretariat area of Abuja, which led to the death of a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Usman Umar, and Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member with Channels Television.
They were arraigned before the court on November 27 by the FCT Command of the Nigeria Police. The suspects were arraigned on charges bordering on homicide, disturbances of public peace, and destruction of government properties.
They had, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the police. On resumption of the case on Tuesday, counsel for the defendants, Bala Dakum, informed the court that he had filed a bail application on behalf of the Shiite members. When the court drew his attention to filing only one bail application for the 60 defendants, which was brought by way of summon, Dakum said he would withdraw it.
He subsequently did in order to file separate applications for the defendants. Justice Sulaiman Belgore then struck out the application, having been withdrawn by the defence counsel with no objection from the prosecution. As a result, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Simon Lough, requested that the defendants should be remanded in Kuje and Suleja correctional facilities.
Lough, who is a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), asked that 54 male defendants be remanded at the correctional facility in Kuje, while the remaining six defendants who are females be sent to the Suleja correctional on remand. He also applied that trial of the defendants be held where they are remanded for convenience, adding that the trial should be given an accelerated hearing considering their number.
The prosecution’s oral applications for the remand of the defendants and trial being held where they are being remanded were not opposed by their counsel. Ruling on the applications, Justice Belgore held that having not been opposed by the counsel for the defendants, the court was minded to remand the defendants at the correctional facilities.
“The defendants be remanded at the correctional facilities. They are to be remanded at Kuje and Suleja correctional yards. Trial to be held in Kuje correctional yard,” he ruled.
The judge then adjourned until February 5, 2020, for the commencement of trial which he ordered to be on a daily basis.