Protests as court remands Lamido in prison

Thousands of supporters of former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, yesterday embarked on violent protests after the presiding judge at Dutse Magistrate  Court, Justice Usman Mohammed Lamin ordered that he (Lamido) be remanded at the Kiyawa Minimum Prison till Thursday when ruling will be given on his bail application.

Justice Lamin said he needed enough time to go through all the submissions of the two counsels to ascertain if the defendant would be worthy of a bail.

Lamido’s supporters had besieged the Dutse magistrate yesterday while the former governor was standing trial on four-count criminal charges and nearly disrupted proceedings when news of his bail denial filters to the public.

The supporters were, however, denied entry into the court premises by the heavily armed policemen deployed to man the court.

The large supporters started chanting pro Lamido slogans when they learnt the presiding judge had turned down his bail application. Immediately after the court proceeding, the crowd started throwing stones into the court premises, shouting ‘karya ne, karya ne’ meaning it is a lie, “it is a lie, you must release our leader.”

The police, who had lost their patience with the supporters, started firing several canisters of tear gas at them, which only seemed to infuriate them the more as they resort massive misile attacks on the police and other people within the court premises.

It took the combined efforts of the Police and Civil Defence operatives to disperse the crowd and smuggle the judge out of the court unharmed.

Lamido, who was standing trial for alleged inciting and disturbance of public peace, criminal defamation, criminal intimidation which are contrary to the provisions of Jigawa penal code as amended, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Counsel to Lamido, Felix Osimerha, argued that his client is a notable public figure and, considering that the alleged charges are not capital offences, deserved a bail.

He also argued that today the former governor would be attending another case in Abuja for alleged corruption charges by the Economics and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The prosecuting Counsel, Ikenna Ignatius argued that, “ allowing the defendant on bail would likely jeopardise the peace of the state considering his large supporters.”

Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose has condemned the arrest and continued detention of Lamido and warned the Federal Government to stop what he described as “regime of harassment and intimidation of people perceived as having presidential ambition in 2019.”

The governor, who called on the international community and the media to save democracy in Nigeria from being truncated by the All Progressives Congress (APC)  cabal’s desperation to hold on to power by whatever means, added that; “It

appears the cabal in the APC led government, that is holding Nigerians to ransom, want their candidate to contest the 2019 election unopposed. Obviously, that is the reason for the arrest and detention of former Governor of Niger State, Dr Babangida Aliyu and Alhaji Lamido who have shown interest in the presidency.”

In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti yesterday, and signed by Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Fayose described police arrest  and detention of Lamido as childish and ridiculous, saying; “If a former governor is

incarcerated for what they called incitement, what should the police have done to those Fulani herdsmen that have killed thousands of Nigerians across the country?”

He said; “With the arrest of Alhaji Lamido, the detention of former Governor of Benue State, Gabriel Suswan since February this year, and the arrest and detention of Dr Babangida Aliyu, it is becoming clearer that these APC people will only contest election against themselves in 2019. 
“It will even be unnecessary to continue to fund the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) since they don’t want anyone to contest the 2019 presidential election against their party. The APC cabal can as well proscribe INEC and declare their party the perpetual

ruler of Nigeria, instead of wasting money on conduct of elections,” Fayose said.

Regardless, barely hours after the court order for the continued detention of Lamido the Jigawa State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) issued a statement describing the decision as “null and void and has no place in laws of the land.”

The state Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Salisu Mahmouda, who issued and signed the statement yesterday, said the continued arrest and detention of Lamido has no connection with the allegation of inciting the public, but has political connotations.

The statement said Lamido cannot be silenced by the Buhari administration after he had earlier survived Generals Babangida and Abacha dictatorial administrations.

The party called for the immediate and unconditional release of Lamido and urged the PDP supporters across the country to remain calm and resolute, assuring that the party “is doing everything within its powers to secure his release.”