At least 32 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) group were on Thursday remanded in prison by a Chief Magistrates’ Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital over a clash with security operatives on Tuesday.
One policeman was reportedly killed when suspected IPOB members attacked a police post at Oyingbo Junction in Port-Harcourt. Three other policemen were injured and two Police vans burnt. Three police weapons and 68 live ammunition were also said to have been carted away, among others.
23 suspects were arrested on Tuesday by a team of security operatives deployed to the scene after the attack on Tuesday and were charged with treasonable Felony. Nine other suspects were arrested for the murder of the policeman and on the second day were charged with murder, armed robbery, unlawful assembly among others.
Magistrate Amadi Amadi-Nna, who presided over the sitting, declined jurisdiction and ordered that the case files be transmitted to the office of the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.
Lawyers to the accused persons said the charges against their clients were trumped up, and urged that they be disregarded . The lawyers also lashed the police for charging the suspects before a court lacking the powers to hear the case.
The prosecution, led by Enoch Gorge, a Superintendent of Police, objected to the submission and urged the court to use its discretion in the charge.
The Nation reports that George subsequently told reporters, “We are aware that the court lacks jurisdiction in the matter but we are here on remand proceeding.”
He assured the public that the Police would ensure that the seven-day deadline provided for by section 304 of Administration of Criminal Justice Administration to transmit the case file to the DPP would be kept to ensure that justice was done to both the defendants and the society.
Clashes between suspected IPOB members and security operatives have become increasingly frequent in recent days following deployment of troops to the south-east for a show of force codenamed Operation Python Dance.