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Police arraign 38 sect members

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command on Thursday arraigned 38 members of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in an Abuja court.

Twenty-eight of them were arraigned in a Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 6 while 10 others were arraigned in Magistrates Court in Wuse Zone 2.

Twenty-eight of the accused were granted bail with conditions by Magistrate Ahmed Ndajiw and Magistrate Mohammed Ibrahim at Wuse Zone 6 Court.

Ten, according to the magistrates in Wuse Zone 2, would be kept in a good facility outside police cell.

The police said two of the 40 suspects arrested for Tuesday’s violent protest were freed during investigation.

Their arraignment followed the arrest of the members during Tuesday’s violent protest and forceful invasion of the National Assembly.

The sect members’ invasion left nine policemen injured and several vehicles destroyed.

The first information report was read in English and interpreted in Hausa language to the defendants at Court 13 of the Magistrates’ Court in Wuse Zone 2.

They were charged with the following offences: criminal conspiracy, mischief, unlawful assembly, obstruction of public servant in the discharge of duty, rioting armed with deadly weapons, causing grievous hurt, disturbance of public peace, assault or criminal force to determine public servant from discharge of his duty contrary to sections 97, 326, 149, 107, 243, 113 and 264 of the Penal Code.

The report reads: “That on July 9, 2019 at 1300 hours (1 p.m), a team of policemen, led by Divisional Police Officer (DPO) National Assembly police station, Umar Sabo Abdullahi, a Superintendent of Police (SP), while performing their official duty, came across you and others at large who formed a common intention and were behaving in a riotous manner and in possession of dangerous weapons.

“The DPO, in performing his lawful duty, ordered you to disperse but you forced yourselves into the National Assembly, burnt and destroyed many vehicles. You equally snatched a gun from Inspector Ahmed Sani and caused grievous hurt on the following police officers: Umar Sabo Abdullahi, a Superintendent of Police (SP); Ahmed Sani as well as Mohammed Sarki and Joseph Abutu, both Corporals.

“You also destroyed the police post at the National Assembly and shot at two police pfficers who are now lying critically ill at the hospital. You thereby committed the above offences.”

The 10 defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The defence counsel, I. A. Ishaq, urged the court to grant them bail and discharge and acquit the accused on the ground that they denied the allegations.

He said: “All the defendants denied allegation and in view of their denial, we humbly apply for their bail. We also urge the court to discharge and acquit them on the ground that they are minors and students from various schools.

“Nine of the 10 defendants are minors and students. The adult among them is 51 years old.”

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