The Criminal court 1 of the Edo High Court on Thursday reserved ruling on the bail application of a human Rights activist and President of the Benin Solidarity Movement (BSM), Mr Curtis Ugbo.
Justice J. Acha reserved ruling after hearing arguments for and against the application by counsel to the applicant, Mr Olayewola Afolabi and the prosecuting counsel and Solicitor General of the state, Mr Oluwole Iyamu.
It would be recalled that the Rights activist was charged for treason, following a protest he led to agitate for a better deal for Benin youths, from the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company (NPDC).
Though a peaceful protest, but the government of Edo, had consider the protest capable of undermining the current existing peace in the state.
The government thereafter charged Ugbo for treason and arraigned him before a lower court in Benin, and was subsequently remanded in Prison custody since March 24, following an order by the lower court.
In his opening remark, Iyamu told the court that a counter affidavit have been filed by the state against the bail application, to which the justice said he was yet to receive.
After much argument on whether or not the case should proceed, counsel to the applicant who said he only received the counter affidavit this morning, however said the case should go on.
Afolabi argued that his client deserved to be granted bail since findings of the investigative authority did not support the charges on which his client was been held.
“Findings of the police does not support the charges. What my client did was simply to carry out a peaceful protest. How can a peaceful protest leads to evasion of the state?”
In opposing the bail application, the state counsel, Iyamu, said granting the wish of the applicant would be injurious to the society.
While noting that the offense which the accuse was charged was a sensitive matter, Iyamu said the state had commenced the process to give the accuse an accelerated trial.
He thus posited that the bail application be denied and the accuse be allowed to stand trial from prison custody.
According to him, “Applicant should be where he is to stand trial, it is for the safety and security of the society.
“This is more so that the process to commence his trial has been initiated. The state will love the opportunity for an accelerated trial. There is great danger in releasing the applicant, particularly when his cohorts are still at large,” stated Iyamu.
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