The Kogi State Acting Chief Judge, Justice Richard Olorunfemi, has stated that two Buhari-Must-Go protesters – Larry Emmanuel and Victor Udoka – has not yet been brought to court because the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria workers are on strike and all courts are closed.
The Chief Judge in an interview with SaharaReporters on Thursday said the protesters had not yet been arraigned because of the strike and the judiciary could not account for their whereabouts.
He directed our correspondent to “carry on your investigation” with the police.
SaharaReporters had reported on April 8, that the Kogi State Police Command continued in its deliberate harassment and intimidation of Emmanuel and Udoka by charging them for treasonable felony and public disturbance.
The duo were assaulted by some youths and later detained by the police for pasting anti-President Muhammadu Buhari’s posters in Lokoja, the state capital.
SaharaReporters had learnt that the duo were not brought to court because of the JUSUN strike, but were tried in a Magistrate’s office and remanded in the Kabba prison.
The power-drunk magistrate, it was further gathered, gave no adjourned date for the matter.
The police had secretly arraigned the two protesters and ensured that they 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 made to the public or the Magistrate’s Court where they were tried.
When contacted by SaharaReporters over the continued detention of the two protesters, the acting Chief Judge, Justice Olorunfemi said the protesters had not been brought before the court yet due to the ongoing JUSUN strike.
He said, “The protesters were not brought before us. We are on strike – the JUSUN strike. This is JUSUN strike and no court is open. And even where court is open, if Buhari protesters are arraigned before the court, it is not for the Chief Judge to start finding out why or who is handling the case. That will be inimical to the administration of justice.”
When asked why the two protesters were being held, he said, “I would not know why they are in custody. We are on strike and the court remains closed. Still carry on your investigation beyond the judiciary and ask the police. The police will be able to enlighten you where they have taken them to.”
The police authorities backed by the Kogi State government have continued in their desperate attempts to frustrate the two protesters.
This is sequel to assault on the middle-aged protesters by some youths about two weeks ago for pasting Buhari-Must-Go posters in Lokoja.
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.