Posted by By Innocent Anaba on
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday adjourned till January 12, 2006 further hearing in trial of 26 suspected members of the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), following the absence of the presiding judge in the matter, Justice Jonathan Shakarho, is said to be in Abuja for the Judges conference.
LAGOS—A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, yesterday adjourned till January 12, 2006 further hearing in trial of 26 suspected members of the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), following the absence of the presiding judge in the matter, Justice Jonathan Shakarho, is said to be in Abuja for the Judges conference.
Eight members of the organisation, who are still in prison custody because they have been unable to meet the harsh bail condition handed down by the court early in the year, have meanwhile, asked the court to vary the bail condition granted by the court.
The court had on April 11, 2005, while admitting the MASSOB members to bail, ordered them to produce two sureties, one of who must not be below the rank of a Deputy Director in the public service, while the other must own landed property in Lagos. But on July 6, 2005, the court quashed the charge of treason, one of the counts of the chrage preferred against the suspects, who were arrested while participating in a football tournament in Lagos and charged for plotting to overthrow the Federal Government.
The eight MASSOB members, who have spent over a year in prison custody, want the court to vary the bail condition, contending that they have tried to meet the bail condition without success and have suffered great hardship in prison custody, as their health condition has continued to deteriorate, and they need proper medical attention outside, which the prison authorities are not willing to provide.
They further stated that government is not forthcoming with opening its case, hence their (suspects) health condition has continue to deteriorate and Benson Efughi, one of the suspects, who was remanded at Ikoyi prison, was mercilessly beaten up at the Ikoyi prison riot of September 20, 2005, and he (Benson) is bed-ridden as a result of the beaten he received, while Jude Ozoemena is feared dead as a result of the fracas at the Ikoyi prison.
The suspects are further complaining that their security can no longer be guaranteed while in custody and want the court to reduce the surety they are to provide for bail to one.
It would be recalled that 53 suspected members of MASSOB, were initially arraigned on a three count charge of planning to wage war against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by participating in the launching of the Biafra Freedom Football Tournament on September 11.
, 2004 at Abule Ado Technical School, Ojo in Lagos.
The court however, quashed of the charge of conspiracy to commit treason and treason, preferred against the accused persons, noting that the said charge is not supported by the proof of evidence.
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