Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Thursday, Sept. 10, for ruling in the bail plea by Vijah Opuama, the Bayelsa Governorship Candidate in the Nov. 16, 2019 election.
Justice Taiwo fixed the date, on Wednesday, after taking arguments from counsel to the parties, following police’s compliance with the order that Opuama be produced in court unfailingly.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Taiwo, had, on Aug. 3 and Sept. 2, ordered that Opuama, who was said to be in police custody, be produced in court but the orders were disregarded by the security outfit.
Opuama’s Lawyer, Michael Odey, had, on Aug. 31, brought an ex-parte application before the court, asking the police to show cause why the detainee should not be released unconditionally.
While the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police, Mr Adamu Mohammed, is the 1st respondent, the Assistant Commissioner of Police in-charge-of the I-G’s Monitoring Unit is the 2nd respondent in the suit.
The judge had also, on Monday, issued the third order, directing that the detainee be produced in court on Wednesday.
Counsel to the police, Miss. T. O. Amalaha, told Justice Taiwo at Wednesday’s sitting that her client had complied with the court order by bringing Opuama to the court.
Amalaha informed that Opuama was brought to the court from the Suleja Correctional Centre following an order of the Zuba Upper Area Court on First Information Report with charged that bordered on-resistance of arrest.
Earlier at the commencement of the hearing, Opuama’s Lawyer, Danaba Pius, said the matter was slated for hearing of the bail application.
Pius said an application for bail was dated Aug. 8 and filed on Aug. 21.
He said the application was supported by an affidavit of 49 paragraphs deposed to by the wife of the applicant.
“Four exhibits are attached to the affidavit. We shall rely on the content of the affidavit and the exhibits.
“We equally filed a written address in support of the application. We rely on the said written address as our argument,” he said.
Pius also said that after receiving the respondents’ counter-affidavit on Sept. 7, “we filed our reply address on Sept. 8.
“We adopt the said address as our argument and we urge the court to grant the application.”
On her part, Amalaha said the police filed a counter-affidavit to show course and to counter the motion for bail with eight exhibits.
She urged the court to dismiss Opuama’s application for bail.
However, Justice Taiwo asked Amalaha if she had taken note of paragraph 5(a) of the police application.
“Yes my lord, it bothers on defamation of character,” Amalaha responded.
“So where do you suppose to file that?” the judge asked her.
Amalaha then explained that though such charge should be brought before the court, she said Opuama resisted arrest the day the police met him and that was why he was charged at the Upper Area Court for resisting arrest.
Justice Taiwo, who held that the offence was neither a murder nor a treason case, said it was a bailable offence.
The judge then said he was of the view that Opuama should be handed over to his lawyer and be produced on Thursday.
“His lawyer shall write an undertaken to produce him tomorrow,” he said.
However, Amalaha raised an objection to the view, saying that “Opuama has already been remanded by the Upper Area Court and to be brought to court on Oct. 2.
She informed that the politician was charged for resisting arrest under a section of the law.
Opuama’s Lawyer, Pius, interjected.
He argued that the charge before the Zuba Upper Area Court and subsequent remand order were after the Federal High Court had already made an order.
“They rushed to the upper Area Court and quickly arraigned him without our knowledge, without the knowledge of his lawyers.
“They were served twice with the order before they rushed to the court to arraign him in the absence of his lawyers,” he said.
Amalaha, however, said it was untrue.
Justice Taiwo then vacated his earlier order that Opuama should be handed over to his lawyer.
The judge, who directed that the applicant should be taken back to Suleja Prison, fixed Thursday for bail ruling.
It would be recalled that Opuama, the Liberation Movement’s governorship candidate in the Bayelsa Nov. 16, 2019 election, was arrested by the policemen from the IGP’s Monitoring Unit at the premises of the state’s
Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal in Abuja on Aug. 15 while waiting for judgment to be delivered on his petition challenging the outcome of the disputed poll.