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Published On: Wed, Apr 9th, 2014

Court remands activist in Kogi for illegal assembly

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From Omale Adama, Lokoja

A Lokoja Upper Area Court II in Kogi yesterday, ordered the remand of a 48 year old human rights activist and publisher, Akwu Goodman in prison over unlawful assembly.

President of the court, Hon. Clifford Oyelude, while handing down the order on arraignment of Goodman said the oral application for bail by his counsel would be sorted out later.

Goodman Akwu was said to have questioned the legitimacy and legality of the election and subsequent inauguration of Capt. Idris Wada as governor of Kogi state, in a protest letter to the State House of Assembly and calling on the lawmakers to begin immediate impeachment process of Wada.

According to the prosecuting police officer, Ajengbe Oluwayomi, the accused was alleged to have, on March 19, “criminally conspired together and illegally led a protest to Kogi state House of Assembly complex.”

The protest was said to be inciting members of the public against the governor, as it alleged that Gov. Wada was illegally occupying the seat of power in Kogi Government House.

The protesting group, the prosecution further said, also published the same inciting information in ‘ThisDay newspaper’ of March 24, 2014 “to cause disaffection and public disturbance in the state”.

Leading the group, under the aegis of ‘Association for Justice and Good Governance’ to the Assembly Complex, Akwu had called for implementation of the January 27 and February 17, 2012 Supreme Court’s Judgment.

The judgment, according to him, called for fresh elections in the five states whose governors’ tenure were illegally elongated, Kogi inclusive.

The group had described the election that brought Wada into office as a nullity and not recognised by the law and Constitution of Nigeria.

The prosecutor, Oluwayomi, opposed admitting the accused to bail on the grounds that the offences were serious in nature and that police investigations in the matter were still on-going, as she applied for another date for mention.

He noted that between March 19, when the offence was allegedly committed and March 28, when it was reported and the subsequent arrest of the accused, he was a free man and did not escape.

He said that the seriousness of a case ought not to be on the lips of the prosecutor but the law attached to the offence, adding that bail was not the end of the matter.

Oyelude, flanked by two other judges of the Upper Area Court, held that having carefully considered the application for bail, they were unable to grant the accused bail.

He accordingly ordered that Goodman be remanded in Federal Prisons custody in Koton-Karfe, as he adjourned the case to April 22, for mention.

 

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