The police on Thursday arraigned about 130 protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria also known as Shiites before the Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
They were arraigned on charges bordering on their alleged involvement in protests which recently led to violent clashes with security personnel in Abuja.
The Shiites in their number had this week clashed with security personnel during their protests in different parts of Abuja for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, and his wife, who had both been held in the custody of the Department of State Services in violation of subsisting court order, since December 2016.
The about 130 defendants, comprised about 12 women, among whom were nursing mothers.
They were conveyed to court in two police trucks ahead of the Thursday’s proceedings.
They were arraigned in four batches before courts 11, 15, 17 and 18 of the Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
They were charged, in four sets of First Information Reports, with “joining or continuing in unlawful assembly when it has been commanded to disperse; disturbance of public peace, rioting and causing hurt”.
The offences were said to be contrary to section 79, 104, 113, 106, 242, of the Penal Code.
The FIR filed in respect of one of the four sets of defendants read, “Contrary to sections 79, 104, 113, 106, 242, of the Penal Code, that on October 30, 2018, at about 1400hours at different parts of the Federal Capital Territory and its environs, following a tip-off that some group of persons were rioting, disturbing peace and blocking vehicular movements, a team of policemen led by the Assistant Commissioner of Police in charge of Operation, FCT Police Command, Valentine Olumesi, immediately arrived at the scene and met you whose names appear overleaf, riotously gathered and blocked vehicular movements and you were ordered to disperse peacefully and you refused and started throwing stones at the police officers and other members of the public and thereby caused them bodily harm.
“You are thereby reasonably suspected to have committed the above-mentioned offences.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
Their lawyers subsequently applied for bail.
In Court 11 of the Magistrate’s Court presided by Njideka Duru, 35 of the defendants who were arraigned there, were each granted bail in the sum of N50,000 with a surety in like some.
Another magistrate, Musa Ibrahim Jibo, of Court 15, granted the 35 defendants arraigned before him bail in the sum of N200, 000 with one surety each.
Another magistrate of Court 17, Lateef Abolaji, granted bail to the 20 brought before him in the sum of N50,000, while Elizabeth Woni of Court 18 granted bail in the sum of N500, 000 to the 30 brought before her.
Woni directed that the 30 defendants brought before her should jointly provide three sureties.
All the about 130 defendants are to be remanded in prison pending when they would meet their bail conditions.
The cases in the four courts were adjourned till December 5 for further hearing.