The Rivers State Judiciary complex in Port Harcourt on Friday was full of jubilation as 35 pro-Biafra agitators charged with conspiracy to commit treasonable felony were discharged.
The agitators were arrested by the Police on January 20, during a rally in solidarity for the inauguration of the U.S. President, Donald Trump.
They were charged by the Police on two counts bordering on conspiracy to commit treason and treasonable felony.
Discharging the accused persons, the Chief Magistrate, Andrew Jaja, held that treasonable felony was a capital offence, punishable by death. Adding that the court had the constitutional power to discharge the accused persons for lack of diligent prosecution.
Jaja said the accused had stayed 37 days in custody without the commissioner of police, director of public prosecution (DPP) and attorney-general (AG) showing interest in the case.
He said the DPP, attorney-general and commissioner of police did not indicate that there was prima facie case to qualify the accused for prosecution or otherwise.
Jaja lamented that the court had adjourned many times to enable the three authorities make input or show that the accused were liable to prosecution, but to no avail.
“The court has the right to grant them bail. The adjournment has elapsed, without the state commissioner of police and AG making their inputs into the matter,” he held.
“The court has the right (power) to grant the accused persons bail or discharge them in line with the constitution.”
However, the magistrate warned the accused to remain peaceful and desist from embarking on further protests.
Jaja said they would not find it easy next time they were brought to court on the same charge.
There was jubilation outside the court by the relations and friends of the discharged persons.
The judgment is coming two days after a federal high court in Abuja dismissed six out of 11 charges filed against Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
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