By Ifeanyi Chijioke | Reports for TBP
April 8, 2017

Outside Onitsha Court; accussed waiting for their trial to be called
ONITSHA - It was a sad event for Innocent Orji and his co-accusers when they were brought to Onitsha High Court on 6th of April in company of seven police Hilux vans. The accused had stormed the Court in the morning but waited for their case to be called up. While they were waiting; colleagues brought from Akwa prison were pressed and pleaded their handler (Warder) to take them to where they could urinate, when they were taken to a nearby bush in the Court premises by the Warder, they were instead stoned, beaten and molested for urinating there.

Innocent Orji and his colleagues have been in detention since 2007 without trial; the prosecution has been accused of deliberately delaying the trial because he has no evidence against them. The molestation of Innocent Orji and his colleagues have been a usual thing because they have nobody to speak for them. Ralph Uwazurike has also been accused of being behind their ordeal; it is widely believed that the plan of the prosecution and Ralph Uwazurike is for the accused to rot in jail.

When Biafra Reporters stormed the Court; they witnessed the beating, stoning and molestation of the litigants. The problem started when the Warder that brought them from Awka prison took them to where they could urinate but while urinating, a woman who was said to be a worker in the Court rushed them and started shouting at the litigants that they can’t urinate there. The litigants pleaded that they are almost done but the woman ran and called a colleague who works under the ACR of the Court.

When the colleague came; he quickly jumped on the litigants beating them while others stoned them, the Warders and few armed security men who sympathized with the litigants pleaded for a stop but before then, one of the litigant has been left in a sorry state. The matter was reported to the Court administrator who instead of make peace suspended the Court sitting and ordered the litigants to be taken back to the prison yard.

When one of the litigants from Awka prison was interviewed; he bitterly complained the frustration they have been facing for over ten years now, and gave account of what happened in the Court premises. “We were brought there to urinate, an open space, a bush for that matter, there was no sign or warning that people should not urinate there. We saw somebody urinate there even before us; but when we went there, a woman started stigmatization and the next thing was stones running on us and another man was called who pounced on us because we were in chain”

Speaking on the issue; the supporters of Innocent Orji accused the DPP of deliberately causing problems to stall the trial and further incarcerate the litigants for next twenty years without trial. The supporters wondered why freedom fighters should be treated in such manner despite the fact they are in their indigenous State. They further urged the prosecution and the Judge to go to Northern Nigeria and see how Boko Haram prisoners are treated with utmost respect. See how murderers of Bridget were treated and let alone ordinary freedom fighters being molested.

The prosecution and the defense Counsel could not be reached for a chat due to the tensed atmosphere but when the matter was suspended; the defense counsel showed frustration and bitterness at the handling of the matter. From investigations, the trial of Innocent Orji and his group has been delayed remarkably and the suspension of the case by the Court administrator is all part of the script to continue the unlawful incarceration. Biafra Reporters saw people urinating in the same place but were not stopped or approached. When the attention of the Court worker was drawn to the other people urinating there; she said "forget that people"

Editor/Publisher: Chinwe Korie
Twitter: @ckorie17


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