By Olalekan Awojodu
A Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja Monday, discharged four out of the six #EndSARS protesters who were charged with unlawful assembly in November 2020.
The Presiding Magistrate Musa Eneye, made the pronouncement at the resume sitting.
The four defendants Olutosin Adeniji, Abdusalam Zubarur, Paul Akinwumi,
Recall that the police had arrested the protesters while they were peacefully demonstrating along with many others in front of the National Complex in Abuja.
While terminating the case against four of the defendants on Monday, the Chief Magistrate’s gave the order on the grounds of lack of diligent prosecution of the case on the part of the police.
At Monday’s proceedings, the four defendants – Olutosin Adeniji, Abdusalam Zubarur, Paul Akinwumi, and Devour Chomo while the duo of Yasidu Bashiru and Kabiru Garzali were absent in court.
The two defendants, who did not appear in court according to Akwaji, fell ill and were receiving traditional treatment in Kaduna.
Henry Akwaji, the defence lawyer, had earlier applied for the dismissal of the case, following the absence of the prosecution team from court.
The prosecution was also absent during the hearing of the defendants’ bail application on November 11.
According to Akwaji, he said that by virtue of section 351 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the absence of the prosecution from court showed lack of diligent prosecution.
On the absence of the two other defendants, the magistrate fumed at their absence and demanded to know why they failed to appear, noting that there was no medical report to support the claim of ill health status of the two defendants.
While giving his judgment Eneye held: “That the defendants, Olutosin Adeniji, Abdusalam Zubarur, Paul Akinwumi, and Devour Chomo, are discharged and the complaint against them dismissed,”
He then adjourned the case till March 24 for the remaining two defendants to appear.
While fielding questions from newsmen after the proceedings, Akawaji said the ruling of the court “was based on law and not emotion”.
“The police dumped the first information report on the court. Having abandoned and neglected the case, the magistrate was right to dismiss it.
The ruling was based on the law and not on emotion,” he said.
Asked about the fate of the two remaining defendants, he said, “I know the police will not come to court. But when we get to the bridge, we will cross it.”
It would be recall that the protesters who were on the verge of renewing what was meant to be a resumption of the #EndSARS were arrested by the police on November 8, 2020.