A Magistrate Court 3 in Lafia on Thursday granted bail to the 38 protesters arrested by the police in Nasarawa State for alleged conspiracy, unlawful assembly and disturbance by fire.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the police had on Jan. 19 arrested the protesters for “blocking Lafia/Jos road after the Supreme Court judgment that affirmed the victory of Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State.”
The police said the protesters comprising eight men and 30 women had contravened the peace accord signed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC).
The magistrate, Mohammed Abdullahi-Lanze, granted the bail after hearing the bail application filed by counsels to the defendants.
The magistrate, however, directed that each of the defendants must get a surety not below the position of a director with the state or federal government, who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court.
He also said each surety must submit his or her identity card, N2 million, letter of first appointment and statement of account to the court.
He, therefore, adjourned the case to Feb. 27 for hearing and directed that all the defendants must be at the court on the next adjourned date.
Earlier, Barr. Labaran Magaji, Nasarawa State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General (AG), who took over as the prosecuting counsel, withdrew all three counter applications.
The counter applications had been filed by the police who were prosecuting the matter before it was taken over by the AG.
The AG said the offences committed by the defendants were bailable by the provision of the laws and as such, the state had withdrawn the counter applications earlier filed to save the time of the court.
He, however, told the court that all the defendants be made to attend subsequent proceedings of the court unfailingly.
On his part, Barr. Ayiwulu Baba-Ayiwulu, counsel to the defendants, appealed that the bail condition be simplified to enable them to meet the condition.
He said Barr. Esson Mairiga, House of Assembly member representing Lafia North at the Nasarawa State Assembly, had offered to stand as surety to all the defendants.
The court, therefore, asked the defending counsel to apply formally and assured that the appeal would be considered in the interest of justice.