According to a report by SaharaReporters, the Kogi state government has filed fresh charges against the two ‘Buhari Must Go’ protesters arrested and dehumanised some months ago for pasting anti+President Muhammadu Buhari posters in Lokoja.
The two Buhari-must-go protesters, Larry Emmanuel and Victor Udoka were in April 2021 molested and brutalised by thugs sponsored by the Kogi State Government for pasting anti-Buhari posters.
They were subsequently arrested and detained by the police.
While in detention, SaharaReporters gathered that they were harassed and intimidated for months after which they were charged for treasonable felony and public disturbance.
They were, however, granted bail by a magistrates’ court in the state after spending 68 days in illegal detention.
In a recent development, the Kogi State government and the State Ministry of Justice have filed a fresh charge against the duo in case number Cmcl/123m/2021 before the Magistrates’ Court at Lokoja, the state capital.
The exhibit as stated in a court document include 23 posters, 2 tins of red paint, 2 roller brushes and a video CD.
Another court document obtained by SaharaReporters stated that Udoka and Larry were charged for “illegally entering the property of the Federal Government and that of the Kogi State government to cause injury to the property thereby diminishing its value” contrary to section 97 of the Kogi State Penal code 2019.
Charge two reads, “Anini Victor Udoka and Emmanuel Larry, on or about the 5th day of April 2021 at Nataco and Kabawa area of Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State within the Kogi State Judicial division committed the offence of Criminal Trespass by illegally entering upon the property being the road-dividers at Abuja-Lokoja expressway belonging to the Federal government and the Walls of the Local Government Service Commission and Kogi State government pillars controlling river at Kabawa Area being the property of Kogi State government and remaining there with the intention to commit offence by painting it with red coloured paint and graffiti inscriptions of the words, ‘Buhari Must Go’ and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 348 of the Kogi State Penal Code, 2019.”
The protesters were also charged with having committed mischief by painting road dividers with the aforementioned inscriptions, which they claim contravenes Section 328 of the Kogi State Penal code, 2019.
The charge sheet was signed by Iye Idama, the Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecution and H.L. Haruna, Principal Legal Officer of the Ministry of Justice, dated 29th July, 2021.
However, the duo of Larry and Udoka reportedly denied the charges levelled against them.
Meanwhile, the legal adviser to the Kogi State Ministry of Justice prayed the court for a fresh bail condition for the protesters.
This was opposed by Aliyu, counsel for the defendants who requested that Larry and Udoka should continue on the previous bail. Aliyu’s plea was maintained.
A source stated that the magistrate also ordered the prosecutors to avail the Defence Team with all the documents referred to on the new charges. The hearing was adjourned to September 7.
SaharaReporters can recall that the young men, who were detained for 68 days, were secretly arraigned by the police.
The police ensured the protesters were remanded at the Kabba Prison – without the knowledge of their lawyers or family members.
SaharaReporters had learnt that neither the charges on which they were arraigned were disclosed to the public or the Magistrates’ Court where they were tried.
This was sequel to the torture which some hoodlums loyal to the state government had earlier given to the protesters who were posting Buhari-Must-Go posters in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.
SaharaReporters had reported that the irate mob flogged the two youths, filmed them and brutalised them before they were later handed over to the police.