A Magistrate Court sitting in Umuahia the Abia State Capital, on Monday remanded one Nkama Agha and eight other Jewish religious leaders in Police custody for an alleged act of Terrorism.
Ogha and his fellow religious leaders were arrested on Sunday, May 13th, by the operatives of Abia State Police Command.
It was gathered that the Jewish worshipers had gathered at Isiama Afaraukwu, the home town of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnadim Kanu, for prayers before they were arrested.
The Police prosecutor Mr. O Uche had in a charge number U/435c/2018, accused the Jewish worshipers of frightened one ASP Justice Aha, an operative of the State Police command in the course of caring out their act of terrorism act.
He stated that the act was an offense punishable under section 12 sub-section “A” of the Abia State prohibition of terrorism, kidnapping, and hostage taking, the use of offensive weapons or other life threatening weapons law of 2009.
One of Counsels to the accused, Mr. Godwin Chionye however argued that the accused went to Afara Ukwu community to pray. He said that they did not engage in any act capable of threatening the peace of the community, or any other person caring out his or her lawful duty in Afara.
Chionye who said he said he hails from Afara Community, added that no act destruction was carried out in the community, pointing out that the indigenes of the community did not at anytime made any distress call to the Police concerning the presence of Jewish worshipers.
He prayed the Court to grant the accused persons bail, while the case should be transfer to the High Court for the accused to stand trial.
“For innocent people who had gathered to pray to be arrested and called terrorist is improper” he said.
Also speaking the Counsel to sixth to ninth accuse persons Mr. Alloy Ajimkor argued that the fact the accused persons went to pray with their children, makes it clear that they are not terrorists.
He added that no criminal leaves his house to perpetuate crime with his/ her children. He asked the court to grant the accused bail.
He said, “I was at the Police station yesterday because I had hoped that I could secure bail for all of them, I only succeeded in rescuing the children who were arrested. I look at the whole situation and it didn’t have merit al all. It is a clear case of religious persecution which is against the African charter of human rights, the United Nations charter and the constitution of Nigeria.
“I think this is happening because the accused persons are Igbos and Jewish worshipers, because the Jews are now being persecuted in this country that is what we are seeing as the new height of persecution in Nigeria.
“A sensitive federal government would not allow its police force to be pushing religious adherents around like this and making second feel class citizens when the Nigerian constitutions grantees freedom of worship and freedom movement. Nnadim Kaun’s father is a monarch, so people can gather to visit his palace at anytime.
“If anybody is teeing this to some kind of offense because of the location the Jewish worshipers decided to perform their Jewish prayer that is wrong because one cannot be guilty by association.
In his ruling, the presiding magistrate Mr. U . O Ugwu said it was condemnable that the Police would charge the accused persons to a court that lacks the jurisdiction to hear their case just for the purpose of keeping in detention.
He adjourned the matter to 30th May for transfer to the High Court for hearing.