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Lawyers demand formal charge of incarcerated rights activist

Following the continuous incarceration of foremost Human Rights activist in Edo State, Comrade Curtis Ugbo, at Oko Prison in Benin City, without formal charge, his lead Counsel, Olayowola Afolabi, has asked the state Ministry of Justice to immediately adhere to the directive of the Edo State High Court to charge the accused to court formally.

It would be recalled that his lawyers had last week petitioned the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja over the continued incarceration of Ugbo.

His solicitors in a letter to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Justice, Benin City, and made available to newsmen argued that since the bail application was denied by the court it is only pertinent to adduced that his “complete and total incarceration of our client since 24thday of March 2017 without a formal charge is against the spirit and intendment of the law”

Ugbo, in March 2017, had under the platform of the Benin Solidarity Movement, BNC, led a peaceful protest to the premises of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, located along Sapele road in Benin City and demanded the management to provide jobs to unemployed Edo youths and give account of their cooperate responsibility to the host communities.

Shortly after the protest Ugbo, alongside Odion Olaiye was arrested by the Police and charged for felony to wit and instigating invasion of Nigeria.

In a charge sheet by the Commissioner of Police with No: MOR/1930/2017 alleged the group of instigating a group of intellectuals some of who are foreigners to invade the NPDC office in Benin with a threat to use the Military wing of the BNC to a launch attack on some oil rich Edo communities.

But his lawyers in the letter to the Ministry of Justice posited that the “learned Magistrate that initially presided over the case on 24th day of March 2-17 directed the state to quickly issue the necessary advice in respect of the case”

Afolabi further added that “Till date the state has refused to file the necessary charge against him. we believe that if the has anything against our client they should be eager to charge him to court rather incarcerating him in prison custody without trail which is against the tenets of constitutional democracy”.

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