By Ayo Oladiran
The Yaba Magistrate Court sitting in Lagos, on Tuesday, granted bail to two #EndSARS protesters who had been remanded in the Kirikiri medium security prison since October 2020.
Both men, Nicholas Mbah, 32; and Ugwumba Chimezie, 20; were arraigned on a three-count charge of attempted arson, public disturbance and armed robbery.
Having pled not guilty, the court granted a bail application filled by defense counsel, A.O. Orji for Nicholas and I.E. Adebambo for Chimezie, to the tune of N50,000, and asked that they provide two sureties in like sum.
Mbah’s ordeal began on the 29th of October when he was picked up at an ATM Gallery in Ojo local overnment area Lagos State, while Chimezie, a taxi driver, spoke his way into trouble when he allegedly discussed plans to burn down the Ojo police station with passengers, not knowing one of them was a police officer. He was arrested after other passengers had alighted.
The offences, punishable under Sections 45(i), 123 and 3423 according to the charge sheet, were committed by both men and others still at large on the 23rd of October, 2020.
The magistrate adjourned the matter till, 30th of April, 2021, for trial.
Meanwhile, before the matter was heard, A. O. Orji, counsel for Mbah, spoke to newsmen, and alleged that the prosecutor, Williams Ologbu, requested bribe to have the case dropped.
He said several efforts had been made to get the family to pay, and that when when he spoke with Ologbu, he said, “Okay, if you want money, let’s see what happens in court, you can talk to the family.”
Orji claims Williams has been in contact with a family member of Nicholas who has agreed to give him what he wants.
An attempt to reach the prosecutor at the time was unfruitful as he was not in court, however, in a telephone conversation with him after the matter had been heard, he denied the allegations saying he had no influence on the matter as the Department of Public Prosecution recommended a change to the charge sheet.
He said, “I am not a small minded person. This same lawyer was unable to express himself in court today; I am very surprised that he can make this type of allegation against me.”
I. E. Adebambo, counsel for the second defendant, Chimezie, when contacted, also denied the allegations, saying she and her client had not been in contact with the prosecutor for any such dealing, and she was hearing it for the first time.
In her words, “I think they have a problem between themselves and he is trying to frame up somebody.”