Court grants bail to #EndSARS protesters, cautions media against sensationalism

A Chief Magistrate in the Federal Capital Territory, Musa Abdulrazaq Eneye has granted bails to six #EndSARS protesters in the sum of N50,000 each with one surety each in the like sum.

The six protesters who were arrested while wearing #RevolutionNow T-Shirt during a protest at the front of National Assembly are Olutosin Adeniji, Yasidu Bashiru, Abdulsalam Zubairu, Kabiru Garzali, Paul Akinwumi and Devour Chomo.

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Before granting the bail, Chief Magistrate Eneye expressed displeasure over a malicious publication on the arraignment of the EndSARS protester in the court last week Friday where what transpired in the open court were twisted and turned upside down on social media.

The Chief Magistrate who drew the attention of lawyers and litigants to the malicious publication warned that there are laws guiding procedures in court and that any violation of the rule will lead to contempt of court.

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He urged Media practitioners to always get their facts accurate in judicial reporting and avoid undue sensationalism and sub-judice in the matter pending before the court so as not to run foul of the law.

Magistrate Eneye laid emphasis on the freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution but however said that the law was not absolute because, there are guidance that must be followed by anybody or group while expressing themselves.

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He said even though dangerous insinuations were made against him on the social media, he has taken the oath of office and that of judicial matter and that he would perform his job without fear or bias against anybody or group.

The Protesters were arraigned on Friday November 6, 2020 by the FCT Commissioner of Police on charge of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public disturbances contrary to Section 97 of the Penal Code.

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Although, the six defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, they were however ordered to be remanded at Suleja Prison pending the time their formal application for bail would be argued.

At the presentation of their formal applications, the counsel to the defendants Tope Akinyode, urged the court to admit them into liberal bail conditions.

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The counsel argued the bail application pursuant to Sections 6, 35 and 36 of the 199 Constitution and Sections 156, 163, 164 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

Although the bail applications with the affidavit evidence were served on the legal department of the Abuja Police Command, no legal representation was made or any excuse offered for the absence.

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In his ruling on the bail application, Magistrate Eneye said that the facts deposed to in the affidavit evidence of the defendants were convincing enough to warrant bail to be admitted to them.

The Court must not refuse bail to punish the defendants while bail condition must not be too excessive so as not to amount to denial of bail.

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Having found merit in the bail application, the Chief Magistrate granted each defendant bail in the sum of N50,000 and one surety in the like sum.

However, the surety must have source of income and must submit passport photograph of his means of identifications to register of the court.

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He then adjourned hearing in the matter till January 25, 2021

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