Nine of the Jewish worshippers arrested on Sunday by the Nigeria police at the home of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Monday were arraigned at an Umuahia Magistrate Court on charges of terrorism.
Before the accused persons were brought to court on a prisons truck, Jewish religion adherents had thronged the court premises, singing and dancing amid the heavy presence of the police.
When the one count charge was read out to the nine accused persons they pleaded not guilty.
The charge sheet indicated that the alleged offence took place on May 13, 2018, in Afaaraukwu under the Umuahia Judicial Division of Abia State.
Part of it reads: “In the course of carrying out your terrorist act and with intent to frighten ASP Justus Ogah of the Nigeria police and his team you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 12(a) of the Abia State prohibition of terrorism, kidnapping, hostage taking, use of offensive weapon or explosive and other threatening behaviour Law 1990.”
In his ruling, the presiding Senior Magistrate U.O. Egwu ordered that the nine accused persons be remanded in the Federal Prison, Umuahia, pending the next hearing which would come up on May 30, 2018.
He further ordered that the case file be transferred to the State Director of Public Prosecution for further advice on the matter as the court has no jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He wondered why the police chose to transfer the matter to his court when it should have transferred it to the appropriate court that has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
Earlier, in their plea for bail, the counsel for the 1-5 accused persons, Godwin I. Chionye and Alloy Ejimakor, said the accused persons had fundamental rights to be granted bail by the court as the accused persons committed no criminal act as being alleged.