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Rivers Screening: Court Sends 15 PDP Members to Prison

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A magistrate court sitting in Port Harcourt has remanded 15 members of the Peoples Democratic Party to the Port Harcourt Correctional Center over alleged disruption of screening at the Rivers State party secretariat on Wednesday.

The 15 suspects are facing trial on a three-count charge of alleged felony, conspiracy and unlawful gathering to breach the peace.

The party members however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.

Counsel to the defendants, Chigozie Baduwa, S. B. Batubo and O. L. Bigini, moved for bail application and prayed the court to grant the defendants bail. But the Principal State Counsel, Chidi Eke, opposed the bail application and urged the court to remand the suspects to the correctional centre for them to face proper prosecution.

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The Presiding Chief Magistrate, Amadi Nna, ordered that the suspects be remanded at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre.

The case was further adjourned to May 26, 2022, for bail consideration.

Chidozie Baduwa and S. B. Batubo who spoke to newsmen outside the courtroom, said the alleged charge was a bailable offence but that the court used its discretion to oppose the bail application.

“This implies that innocent students, innocent citizens will be made to suffer at the custodial centre for offences they know nothing about.

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“For offences that there is no scintilla of evidence, for offences that the state knows that is a lie intended to intimidate or cow persons who have demonstrated support, who have exercised their right to choose who they will support in electioneering.

“But since the magistrate decided to exercise his discretion in favour of the respondent by adjourning for consideration of bail next month, we also have other options to explore.

“We can either decide to wait till that day for the court to grant the defendants bail or we go ahead with other options we have to see that the defendants are granted bail. It is a bailable offence,” he stated.

Meanwhile, the Principal State Counsel, Chidi Eke, said the suspects may be granted bail on the next adjourned date.

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