January 20, 2021

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The publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore, and other activists who participated in the #CrossoverWithProtest which took place on the eve of new year, have been remanded in Kuje prison.

The activists were arraigned before Taye Maibel at the Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on Monday by the police after spending four nights in detention.

Mr Sowore and four other activists who were arrested at Gudu junction in Abuja were arraigned on three counts of unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy and inciting public disturbance.

The police lawyer, J. C. Idachaba, told the court that Mr Sowore and other activists were arrested for disturbing the peace of the nation.

When the charges were read, the activists were asked to take plea and they answered not guilty, saying all allegations against them were false.

Mr Idachaba told the court that the police would need more time to investigate, hence the defendants be remanded in custody or prison until the conclusion of investigation.

This was, however, countered by the lawyer representing the defendants from the Femi Falana Chambers, identified as Barrister Marshal.

Mr Marshal said all the defendants are entitled to bail and should be granted in the interest of justice. He then asked the magistrate to grant Mr Sowore and others bail.

ALSO READ: #CrossoverWithProtest: Nigerians demand Sowore’s release as police keep mum

After arguments between the two parties, Mrs Maibel asked the defendants’ counsel to formally apply for their bail.

The magistrate said she would sit on Tuesday so that the defendants bail could be filed formally.

In her ruling, she said all the charges are bailable, except if the defendants are deemed likely to evade trial or commit the same offence. She asked that the formal bail application should he brought before here at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

While the magistrate said the defendants should be taken to the Wuse police station, the telephone number of the DPO in Wuse could not be reached.

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She later ordered that Mr Sowore and others should remanded in Kuje Prison pending the hearing of their bail application.

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