Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Biafra Times publisher, 9 others arrested and arraigned on sedition charges

The publisher of Biafra Times and nine others were on Monday, arraigned before a Lagos Magistrates Court in Ikeja for allegedly publishing and circulating seditious and malicious publication.
The accused, Peter Eke, the publisher, Jamiu Eke, Azeez Ayoola, Akeem Adebakin, Bisi Akeem, Adewumi Temitope, Sakiru Folorunsho, Rafiu Qudus, Kunle Olusola, and Ayodeji Odunyinbo, were arrested on Sunday night, January 29th, at a room located at no 33 Oguntolu Street, Somolu.

Parading the 10 suspects after the arrest, Lagos State Police Commissioner, Fatai Owoseni, said 515 copies of the offending newspaper were recovered during a raid on the printing press in Shomolu, Lagos. The printing press has been shut and the environment is being monitored. This is an offence punishable under the Criminal Law of Lagos State," Owoseni said.
The 30-year-old Eke, however, told journalists that he had no intention to promote disunity and disharmony among Nigerians. "I love my country and I love my president. My intention is not to fight my country; I just want to pass out information to those who have no access to the Internet. I usually go on the Internet to source for information and publish. I have other papers on sports and social life which I publish. I decided to specialise on Biafra Times when I discovered it is always a sell-out anytime we published stories about eastern parts of the country. Sometimes, I go to newspaper vendors and hear people requesting for Biafra Times. We usually print about 5000 copies which we sell for N100 nationwide," he said.
The accused all pleaded not guilty to the seven count charges preferred against them by the Lagos State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID)

After their plea, their lawyer, Lucy Baadoo, had moved an application for bail of the accused, urging the court to release the accused on bail on liberal terms.
The bail application was however refused by the magistrate who rather ordered accelerated hearing of the case. She consequently adjourned the case to February 10, 17 and 24 for commencement of trial.
In the charge, the prosecutor, Effiong Asuquo, OC Legal of the State Criminal Investigations Department, Panti Yaba, alleged that the accused projected obscene article in an unlicensed publication known as ‘The Biafra Times’ on January 29, 2017
They were alleged to have reproduced statements, rumors and reports calculated at inciting secession in a section of the Nigerian federation and which publication is capable of putting the federal government in fear.
The publication is said to contain pictorial displays of persons living and dead in a manner likely to provoke or bring into disaffection some section of the Nigerian federation.
The accused were also alleged to have conducted themselves in a manner likely to constitute a breach of peace, by inducing fear in the public to abstain from going about their lawful business.
The offences is said to have contravened the provisions of Section 58, 59 and 403 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Cap C17 Laws of the Federation, 2015.

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