End SARS: Judge grants bail to protesters, warns ”freedom of expression not absolute”

 

A Chief Magistrate of an Abuja Court, Musa Abdulrazaq Eneye has granted bail to six End SARS protesters in the sum of N50,000 each with one surety each in like sum.

The bail condition demands that the surety possess a source of income and provide a passport photograph and other means of identifications to the court registrar.

The six defendants were arrested while wearing RevolutionNow T-Shirts during a protest in front of the National Assembly last week.

They are Olutosin Adeniji, Yasidu Bashiru, Abdulsalam Zubairu, Kabiru Garzali, Paul Akinwumi and Devour Chomo.

Eneye, however, expressed displeasure over publications against the court.

He told lawyer and litigants that there are laws guiding procedures and that any violation of the rule will lead to contempt of court.

The Magistrate said undue sensationalism and subjudice in the matter was not in line with the law.

Eneye stressed that freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution, was not absolute because there are guidelines that must be followed by anyone or group while expressing themselves.

The protesters were arraigned on Friday, November 6, 2000, by the FCT Commissioner of Police.

They were charged with criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public disturbances contrary to Section 97 of the Penal Code.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges but were ordered to be remanded at Kuje Prison pending the time their formal application for bail would be argued.

Counsel to the defendants, Tope Akinyode, urged the court to admit them into liberal bail conditions.

The counsel argued the bail application pursuant to Sections 6, 35 and 36 of the 199 Constitution and Sections 156, 163, 164 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Although the bail applications with the affidavit evidence were served on the legal department of the Abuja Police Command, no legal representation was made, or any excuse offered for the absence.

Eneye allowed the bail application to be moved in line with the provision of the Abuja Magisterial rules.

The Magistrate then adjourned hearing in the matter till January 25, 2021.

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