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Bayelsa crisis: Elders oppose FG’s withdrawal of charges against suspects

Elders of a community in Bayelsa State have written the federal government against the withdrawal of charges against four suspects in a recent crisis. Four…

Elders of a community in Bayelsa State have written the federal government against the withdrawal of charges against four suspects in a recent crisis.

Four persons, Lugard Martina, 38; Dautibi Paul Okolai, 54; Appy Sunday Julius, 38; and Michael Kumosuonyo, 46, were charged before a Federal High Court in Abuja on offences bordering on terrorism in Opu in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

The letter addressed to President Bola Tinubu was signed by Chief E.T. Ikoli, Chief Johnbull Efere, Afuroyanate Beredugo, Naomi Jonah, Alanabo Digigha, and Mr Ayebaemi Kieriseiye.

According to them, the prosecution counsel in the matter, Simon Lough (SAN), a Deputy Commissioner of Police, had informed them that the Attorney General of the Federation intends to drop the prosecution of the suspects.

The letter reads, “At this juncture, we are forced to ask the following questions: What will be the fate of the families of the victims if the perpetrators are freed without prosecution? Will the Nigerian judiciary be allowed to dispense justice and bring a form of respite to the bereaved? Should victims of violence and terrorism start seeking justice outside the ambit of the law? Should murderers of innocent citizens go unpunished because of clear political interference? Is the judiciary now at the beck and call of the Attorney General? Is miscarriage of justice also part of the Renewed Hope Agenda we all believed in and still believe in? Is the Federal Government indirectly urging families of those killed to resort to alternative means of avenging the death of their loved ones since justice is not allowed to take its course?”

They therefore asked the president to call the AGF to order and take decisive action to rectify any order that may have been given surreptitiously.

The police had in the five-count charges brought on February 15 accused the defendants of conspiracy and terrorism by attacking residents of the community and destroying properties “with guns, dynamites and other dangerous weapons.”

The victims are identified as Bata Agala, Queen Kieriseiye and Inkio Walter.

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