A Magistrates’ Court in Mpape, a suburb of Abuja, on Thursday, granted bail to five workers of The Daily Times Newspapers on the sum of N300,000 with two sureties in the like sum each.
The Magistrate, Okagbu Azubuike, also ordered that the two sureties must be civil servants on the employment of the Federal Government, saying that the sureties must reside within the jurisdiction of the court.
The magistrate further ordered the workers to be of good behaviour during the pendency of the trial.
The DTN workers are Tinuola Ashiru, (Assistant Manager, Human Resources); Ayodele Ibitoye (Accountant); Afolabi Adeboye (Graphics Designer); Marvelous Eyoh Effiong (Graphics Designer) and James Akingbade Olagoke (Advert Officer).
The Nigeria Police on Thursday afternoon hurriedly arraigned the five workers on a First Information Report (FIR) for an alleged cheating, impersonation, theft and forgery.
But when the charge was read to the five workers, they denied the allegations as “Not true.”
The prosecuting M.O. Omosun therefore asked for a date for their trial.
But the lawyer to the DTN workers, Mr. Uche Amulu, made an oral application for their bail, pending the determination of the case.
Moving the application for bail, Amulu said the application was based on sections 35 and 36 (b) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), Section 162 of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
He said that bail is at the discretion of the court, saying that it must be exercised judicially and judiciously.
Amulu further informed the magistrate that “the applicants are victims of circumstances that have suffered in the past seven days in police custody for alleged offences they did not commit.”
According to the lawyer, the Commissioner of Police had hurriedly arraigned the DTN workers following a fundamental human rights suit filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja against the Inspector General of Police (IGP).
He, therefore, urged the Magistrate to admit the five DTN workers to bail on liberal terms.
Responding, Omosun told the court that he would not oppose the bail, saying that if the court is mindful of granting the DTN workers bail, the court should order them to be of good behaviour.
The matter has been adjourned to March 27, 2018, for trial.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja