By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Dec. 23, 2020 (NAN)The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, granted bail to 24 young men detained about six months ago by the Nigerian police on allegation that they forged documents with which they sought recruitment into the force.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in a ruling, granted a N100, 000 bail to each set of the defendants with a surety who must have a property in the like sum within the court’s jurisdiction.
Justice Ekwo noted that he chose to grant bail despite opposition by the prosecution, who claimed that the defendants would jump bail.
The judge advised the defendants not to jump bail, but to undertake the trial and clear their names.
He adjourned the matter until Jan. 25, for trial.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that by the bail condition, each set of defendants, represented by a separate lawyer, is required to produce a surety.
The first to the eighth defendants, represented by a lawyer, were required to have a surety; the ninth to 16th defendants would produce a surety and the 17th to 24th would also have a surety.
NAN reports that the 24 young men were, on Dec. 18, arraigned on a 106-count charge, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/206/2020 and filed in the name of the Inspector General of Police
They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
When the judge asked the prosecution lawyer, Mathew Omosu, on how long the defendants had been on detention, he said “since July this year.”
Some counts in the charge read: “That you… sometimes between 2018 to 2020 at the Nigeria Police College Borno, being bound by law to state the truth, did swear on oath, and gave an information that is false and as such committed an offence punishable by law.
“That you…on the same date and place, did assume the name, designation of police officers, and thereby committed an offence punishable by Section 42 of the Police Act…”