Chief Magistrate Adeola Adelaja of Abeokuta Magistrate Court I, sitting in Isabo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on Thursday barred journalists from covering the arraignment of students of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, MAPOLY, who were arrested on Tuesday.
Apparently furious about the earlier media report that she rejected attempted murder charge filed against the students, the Chief Magistrate sent journalists out of the court.
Other journalists, who arrived after the case was already on, were also prevented by her, the Police orderly from covering the proceedings.
Although the magistrate didn’t mention the reason for her action, she said some media were using her name to sell their papers by reporting what she did not say and that she wouldn’t allow that.
Her words: “I don’t know what manner of journalism you’re practising because you want to sell your papers. Not in my own time.”
Meanwhile, 17 persons, including some students of the MAPOLY, were arraigned for attempted murder.
Other charges, according to the suit with case number MA/838c/2017, included unlawful assault, vandalisation of vehicles and obstruction of peace.
The accused persons were alleged to have attempted to kill one Police officer, Daniel Samuel, by inflicting injuries with an iron on his forehead.
They were also accused of unlawfully assaulting another officer, Bola Alonge, and prevented him from executing his official duty; disturbance of peace and vandalisation of MAPOLY Hilux Vehicle.
According to the charge sheet, the accused person committed offences contrary and punishable under Sections 516, 320, 356(1)(2)(3)(4)(5), 69 and 451 of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State, 2006.
Leading the discussion on an oral bail application, which was applied for by other counsel, Bunmi Adelabu argued that none of the offences was punishable by death.
Quoting Section 118(2) of Criminal Code, Adelabu argued that justice must be done in the case not only judicially according to the law, but also judiciously according to the fact before the court.
She further explained that most of the accused persons were victims of circumstances, who had nothing to do with the protest for which they were arrested.
She told the court that the second accused person, Oyero Oladotun, is an NYSC member serving in Oyo State, while three others were arrested during training.
Delivering her ruling, the magistrate granted the accused persons N500,000 bail with two sureties in like sum.
One of the sureties must be a civil servant not less than Level 10 or a responsible community leader, who must be residents within the jurisdiction of the court.
The sureties must also show evidence of tax payment to the government of Ogun State in the last two years.
She further ordered the Police to release some seized items including a bike, an iPhone 7, two Samsung phones, among others, to the accused persons.
The case was adjourned till February 2 for legal advice.