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2019 ELECTIONS: we are fully prepared for a credible polls — CP assures Ndi Anambra

On Tuesday 19th February, 2019, some ex Madonna University students who were arrested for 'allerged publication of false massages' against Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ede and Madonna University, were arraigned before the Federal High Court, Awka.

V. I. Jimeh, Esq, who appeared with O. I. Onyekwelu, Esq. and other counsel for the respective defendants urged the Presiding Judge, Honourable Justice Babatunde Olaide Quadri to admit the defendants to bail. The counsel stated that although the offences are bailable, the young men have been deliberately detained by the police for over a month without arraignment, even though by law, they ought not to be detained beyond 24 hours.

The defendants who were in court include Ezeimo Anthony Prince, Amaechi Benedict, Owhonda Karaka Badaziri, Okpara Harmelson Nnamdi amongst others.

The prosecution counsel, a police prosecutor, A. N. Obo, Esq. vehemently opposed the bail application. However, the Judge after taking the submissions of various counsel for and against the bail application, granted bail to the respective defendants in the sum of One Million Naira with two sureties each in the like sum, one of whom must be a civil servant on salary grade level twelve to be identified in writing by the permanent secretary in the applicable ministry,  amongst other conditions.

The defendants who pleaded not guilty were accused of several crimes including: The creation of a social media page on facebook named 'great madonnites' and sending 'false massages' through internet network that Madonna University is a death trap and that the management of the institution are hypocritical tyrants.

The defendants were said to have done all these with the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, enemity and hatred against the person of Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Edeh which is a punishable offence under section 22 (2) (b) of the Cybercrimes Prohibition Act.

In an interview, Barr. Jimeh said: "There have been desperate efforts to keep the defendants behind bars at all costs, in violation of their rights and without regard to due process.

He further stated that: "When a person suffers long detention beyond the limits allowed by law, he/she has the right to sue for violation of his/her fundamental right.

"This is an option available to victims of prolonged detention, if they choose to explore it and demand for justice.

Concerning the likely outcome of the case, he stated that "a person standing trial, may either be discharged and/or acquitted or otherwise convicted. Only the court can determine that. However, as lawyers, we are bound to do our best in defence of our clients".

Ezeimo Anthony Prince (one of the defendants) who spoke on behalf of the other defendants said "We were falsely accused by Madonna University. We are not guilty and I believe we will be vindicated.

So far, many arrests have been made and are still being made.

The case was adjourned to 19th March, 2019.

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