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Alleged Terrorism: Court Refuses Bail Application Of ‘Eze Ndigbo’

 

A Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square on the island has denied the bail application of the “Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate” in the state, Frederick Nwajagu.

Justice Yetunde Adesanya instead ordered an accelerated hearing of the terrorism trial of the defendant which she fixed for October 3, 2023.

At the last sitting of the court on July 25, Nwajagu’s counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chino Obiagwu, had applied for his bail.

Obiagwu told the court that the defendant was a widower who had six children whom he could not abandon and would therefore would not jump bail.

He also cited the medical condition of his client.

The senior advocate added that the defendant does not possess an international passport, and was therefore not a flight risk.

He reminded the court that Uwajagu has been granted bail at the lower court but was not able to perfect the bail due to its stringent conditions.

The prosecution counsel, a State Deputy Director for Public Prosecutions, Mr Jonathan Ogunsanya, opposed the application and asked the court to order an accelerated hearing of the case.

Ogunsanya also said that the circumstances under which the defendant was granted bail at the lower court was different from the information filed against him at the high court.

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Justice Adesanya refused Nwajagu’s application.

The court held that the seriousness of the alleged offence and the severity of its punishment, compelled the refusal of the bail application.

Justice Adesanya held: “Based on the seriousness of the offence, the severity of the punishment and the proof of evidence before the court, the court is constrained to refuse the bail application.

“The application for accelerated hearing is hereby granted”

The judge also directed the officials of the correctional facility to make arrangements for Nwajagu to visit a government hospital for his treatment. She adjourned till October 3 for commencement of trial.

Background

Eze Fredrick Nwajagu, aged 67, was arrested on April Ist following a viral video in which he allegedly threatened to invite members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra to Lagos to secure properties of Igbo people living in the state.

On April 5, 2023 Nwajagu was docked before the Magistrate court by the police on a two count charge of conspiracy and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace.

The police prosecutor, SP Thomas Nurudeen, told the court that the Eze Ndigbo and some others at large committed the offences on March 26 at No. 2, Akeem Shitu St., Ajao Estate, Lagos State.

He alleged that Nwajagu put fear in Lagos residents when he threatened to bring IPOB to the state. Nwajagu was also said to have publicly stated that IPOB would shut Lagos State for one month.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On May 6, 2023 Chief Magistrate Peter Nwaka, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N1m with 4 sureties, all of whom must be resident in Lagos.

The court also ordered that one of the sureties must own a property in Lagos which must be registered with the land bureau and which documents must be deposited with the court.

But he was unable to meet the bail conditions and remained in custody.

On May 9, 2023 Nwajagu was m arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a nine-count charge bordering on attempts to commit Acts of Terrorism under Section 403(2) of the Criminal law of Lagos State, 2015; Participation in Terrorism Meeting to Support a Proscribed Entity, Attempt to finance an Act of Terrorism, Preparation to Comit an Act of Terrorism under Sections 12(c), 18, 21, 29 & 12(a) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act, 2022, amongst others.

The Defendant pleaded NOT GUILTY to all the nine counts and trial was adjourned to July the 4th.

On July 4th, proceedings were stalled at the court owing to the absence of the defendants counsel.

On July 5th, the trial was further adjourned to July 25th at the instance of the defence counsel, Chino Obiagwu who told the court that he had just been served that morning with documents from the prosecution on its list of additional witnesses and had not gone through them. The matter was adjourned till July 25

On July 25, Nwajagu’s lawyer applied for the bail of his client.

Kayode Oyero

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Kayode Oyero

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