By Deborah Oladejo, Osogbo
An Osogbo Chief Magistrate’s Court in Osun State has ordered that 23 cult members of the Eiye and Aiye Confraternity be remanded in Ilesa prison custody for alleged breach of public peace and possession of Indian Hemp known as Cannibis Sativa.
The accused include, Abidemi Rapheal (35), Omotosho Sunday (21), Fatai Adeyemi (35), Lekan Kolapo (19), Ajetunmobi Jamiu (18), Sadiq Adebayo (19), Ayodele Tosin (29), Oke Gbenga (25), Balogun Ayodeji (18).
Others are, Ogunsile Lekan (18), Lateef Quadri (18), Pele Kehinde (42), Olaoye Kayode (24), Ajibade Tosinloba (18), Taofeeq Lamidi (35), Saheed Adedeji (34), Wasiu Adeniyi (27), Rasak Fadulilah (23), Oderinwale Kabiru (30), Nweke Emmanuel (21), Agbom Sunday (22), Sefiu Muhammed (22), and WasiuOyedeji (22).
The Police Prosecutor, ASP John Idoko told the court that the accused committed the offence on June 13, 2019 at about 8:30 pm , along Old Garage opposite Freedom Park , Osogbo.
Idoko explained that the young accused persons who are members of Eiye and Aiye secret Confraternity conspired among themselves to breach the peace of the state and were also found with Indian Hemp popularly known as Cannibis Sativa.
He said the situation led to many innocent citizens scampering for safety because of the unlawful act carried out by the two cult members last week.
He said the offence committed contravened sections 430 (a)(b), 249(d), 516(1)A, and 64 (a) of the criminal code cap 34 vol. 11 ,laws of Osun, 2003.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the four- count charge preferred against them.
Their lead Counsel, Mrs Teju Kolawole had wanted to apply for an oral bail application but the Magistrate, Mrs. Rofiat Olayemi interrupted her and said she would not release them on bail notwithstanding that their offences were entitled to bail.
Olayemi told the counsels to the accused persons that the alleged offences of the defendants were bailable but said she would deny them bail because their release might hamper the peace of the state.
The magistrate maintained that release the accused persons on bail would jeopardise the efforts of the security agencies to restore peace to the state.
She said she was aware of the recent attacks by some suspected thugs in the state and the shootings that accompanied their clashes saying that it was disturbing and needed to be curbed.
The Magistrate, however, said she would adjourn to a short date and that counsels to the accused persons would still apply for their bails orally.
Olayemi ordered that they be remanded in Ilesa prison and then adjourned till June 24, 2019 for bail applications.
In the mean time, some residents of Osogbo have protested the arrest and remand of the accused persons and claimed that they were not “cultists” as argued by the Police.
These residents who claimed to be relations and co-workers of the suspects stormed the High court premises and accused the Police of raiding “innocent citizens of the state for offences they knew nothing about.”
Some of these protesters are parents, employers, pastor and civil servants.
When the court could not tolerate their noises within the court premises, policemen were asked to chase them out of the court premises.
After chasing them out of the courtroom surroundings, the protesters, some of whom were shedding tears, clung to the main gate of the court and demanded the release of the suspects.
Speaking, one of the residents, Mr Lukman Ishola, claimed that he is an artist in Osogbo and that three of his apprentices were arrested during a raid by the Police last Friday night.
Ishola said, “These people (suspects) are innocent of whatever they are accused of. The Police know that they can’t arrest the real people who attacked themselves on Friday night and shot at each other. Three of my boys were arrested on their way from work at Old Garage. They know nothing about cultism. They should be released because they are innocent.”
Another protester, Mrs Latifat Moshood said her neighbours were raided while eating at an eatery along Oke-Fia claiming that they were innocent of the offences alleged.
She said in Yoruba language that, “They (suspects) are innocent. They were at a canteen beside the house before they were arrested by the Police. This is unjust treatment. The real offenders are walking freely and Police decided to arrest innocent residents.”