No fewer than 51 adherents of Judaism, comprising 10 females and 41 males arrested in Umuahia, Abia State, were yesterday arraigned before an Umuahia Magistrate’s Court.
They were arrested on Tuesday during their peaceful march to demand for a Jewish nation and were arraigned yesterday for alleged terrorism and treasonable felony, but they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Presiding Chief Magistrate, Idika Kalu, however, ordered that they be remanded in prison custody because the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter.
He also directed that the case file be sent to the Ministry of Justice to be assigned to the appropriate court with the jurisdiction.
Counsel to the suspects, Anthony Nwafor, told the court that it was illegal and unconstitutional for the respondents to be arraigned by the prosecution at the Magistrate’s Court, which lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter.
“There is nothing like holding charge. Magistrate’s Court should not entertain the matter because you cannot approach court with a charge it cannot try, he said, citing several related authorities and Supreme Court decisions on similar matters.
The magistrate further ordered that the suspects be remanded in prison custody, pending their arraignment at the High Court and adjourned the matter to January 24, 2019 for the report on compliance with the ruling.
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