Police Arraign 60 Shiite Members Five Months after Arrest

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A Nigerian policeman stands guard as All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters march towards the Independent National Electoral Commission Office in Port Harcourt during a demonstration calling for the cancellation of the presidential election in the Rivers State on March 29, 2015. Thousands of supporters of Nigeria's main opposition party demonstrated in the southern state of Rivers, calling for the cancellation of elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP PHOTO / FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR (Photo by FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

The Nigerian Police Force on Wednesday arraigned 60 members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as Shiites over alleged disturbance of public peace.

Their arraignment before Justice Suleiman Belgore of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Apo, Abuja, is coming five months after their arrest in the Abuja metropolis.

They were arraigned on a nine-count charge bordering on homicide, disturbance of public peace and destruction of government properties.

The defendants were among those arrested during the July 22, 2019 protest at the Central Business District (CBD) area of the FCT.

The protest led to the death of DCP Usman Umar and a youth corps member, Precious Owolabi, attached to Channels Television

The defendants however pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The charge with number: CR/31/19 bordered on homicide, disturbances of public peace and destruction of government properties.

After their non guilty plea, the prosecution counsel, Simon Lough, urged the court to remand the defendants in Correctional Centre in Kuje, Abuja, having being held in custody of the SARS in the past five months.

He also urged the court to move its sitting to Kuje due to logistics.

The defence counsel, Bala Dakum, did not oppose the prosecutor’s request but told the court that he intend to move a bail application.

Justice Belgore ordered the remand of the defendants in SARS custody till December 10, pending the hearing of the bail application and venue of trial.

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