By Mosunmola Ayobami,Kwara
A Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ilorin on Thursday granted bail to the six protesting ‘Sunset; teachers who were arrested by the Police over alleged Public disturbance and non-observance of COVID-19 protocols.
Six of the 2,414 sacked teachers recruited towards the end of the administration of former Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed who were arrested by the Kwara State Police Command on Wednesday over a protest.
They were arraigned before a magistrate court sitting in Ilorin for criminal conspiracy, disobedience of COVID-19 protocols and disturbance of public peace.
Those charged included; Isiaka Toyin, Mohammad Olayinka, Salaudeen Abubakar, Ibrahim Alabi, Adewale Abdulazeez and a female, Aransiola Olubukun.
They were charged with Criminal conspiracy, disturbance of public peace, inciting public disturbance, disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant, failure to comply with restriction order imposed by the government.
The offences according to the prosecution were contrary to section 97, 113, 114, 152 (B) of the penal code and regulation 17 paragraph (1) (I) of the Kwara State Infectious diseases (emergency prevention) regulation 2020 and punishable under the same laws.
Police First Information Report (FIR) alleged that the accused persons conspired with other persons who are now at large while protesting on Ahmadu Bello way, Ilorin Kwara State, defiantly blocked both lanes of the road and all peaceful efforts to get them off the road proved abortive, resulting in the obstruction of the road and grinding to a halt the free flow of vehicular and human traffic, thereby disturbing public peace and inciting public disturbance.
“Furthermore, during the course of the protest, you breached government regulations prohibiting the large gathering of people in public places without the use of face mask and the maintenance of social distancing in contravention of the State Governor’s executive order.
” Discreet investigation carried out by the SCID revealed that indeed all of you conspired with other persons who are at large to commit and did commit the said offences by sitting down on both lanes of the road and blocking the said Ahmadu Bellow way, Ilorin on 17th Feb, 2021 at about 1200hrs, thereby grinding to a halt free flow of vehicular and human traffic and gathered without regard for social distancing in contravention of the executive order on the prevention of the spread of covid 19″, the FIR added.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Police prosecutor, Inspector Adewumi Johnson prayed the court not to grant the Suspects bail because granting them bail might jeopardise the ongoing investigations of the police.
However, the defence Counsel, Barrister Abdullahi Akewusola pleaded with the Court to allow the defendants to be on bail as the offences were bailable, adding that they would not jump bail.
He further told the Court that all the defendants were first offenders who never had criminal records adding that “they have never been in police station for any criminal offence.”
Ruling on the case, the trial Magistrate, Mrs. A.A. Abioye granted the defendants bail in the sum of N200,000 and two sureties each living within the jurisdiction of the court, adding that one of the sureties must be blood relations of the defendants while the other surety must be a civil servant in the state civil service.
The case was adjourned till March 4, 2021 for mention.