A Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja has discharged four out of the six men charged with unlawful assembly by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in relation to their alleged participation in the 2020 #EndSARS protesters in Abuja.
A Chief Magistrate, Musa Eneye, in a ruling on Monday discharged four out of the six Nigerians arraigned before the court late last year by the police.
The four are: Olutosin Adeniji, Abdusalam Zubarur, Paul Akinwumi and Devour Chomo.
The police claimed to have arrested them while allegedly engaging in unlawful protest within the facade of the National Assembly complex in Abuja.
At the mention of the case on Monday, the prosecution was not represented, while the defendants were represented by Henry Akwaji.
Adeniji, Zubarur, Akinwumi and Chomo were in court, but the other two defendants -Yasidu Bashiru and Kabiru Garzali – were absent.
Akwaji then applied for the dismissal of the case in view of the non-representation of the prosecution in court.
He noted that the prosecution was also absent during the hearing of the defendants’ bail application on November 11, 2020.
Akwaji argued, among others, that by virtue of Section 351 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the absence of the prosecution from court showed lack of diligent prosecution.
On why the other two defendants were not in court, Akwaji said they fell ill and were being attended to by traditional medical experts in Kaduna
Ruling, Eneye noted that there was no medical report to support Akwaji’s claim that the other two defendants, who are on bail, were ill.
The Magistrate proceeded to discharge the four defendants,who were presentn by declaring: the defendants, Olutosin Adeniji, Abdusalam Zubarur, Paul Akinwumi, and Devour Chomo, are discharged and the complaint against them dismissed.”
He adjourned the case of the remaining two defendants till March 24
Akawaji told journalists while exiting the court that the court’s decision “was based on law and not emotion”.
“The police dumped the first information report on the court. Having abandoned and neglected the case, the magistrate was right to dismiss it. The ruling was based on the law and not on emotion,” he said.
Asked about the fate of the two remaining defendants, he said, “I know the police will not come to court. But when we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”
The six defendants were arrested by the police on November 8, 2020 while they were demonstrating peacefully at the National Assembly, demanding an end to bad governance and police brutality.
The protesters had planned the protest as a resumption of the #EndSARS protest which was earlier aborted in October after it was hijacked by hoodlums who went on a looting spree, attacking innocent citizens, police posts, stores and homes of prominent persons.