From Godwin Tsa, Abuja.
The Police authorities on Wednesday evening arraigned 15 suspects alleged to have invaded the Abuja residence of a Supreme Court Justice, Mary Peter Odili.
Among those arraigned before Justice Nkeonye Maha of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court were two senior lawyers, Alex Onyekuru and Igwe Ernest as well as a senior journalist Mr Stanley Nkwazema as well as a house wife Hajia Memunat Maisanu.
They were put on trial on 18-count charges by the Inspector General of Police.
All the defendants who were brought to court under heavy security by police operatives however denied all the charges slammed on them.
They also include Adjodo Lawrence, Michael Diete-Spiff, Barrister Alex Onyekuru, Bayero Lawal (AKA Director of EFCC), Barrister Igwe Ernest, Aliyu Umar Ibrahim, Hajiya Maimuna Maishanu and Dr. Ayodele Akindipe (AKA Herbalist).
The rest are Yusuf Adamu (AKA Godson to Chief Peter Odili), Bashir Musa, Assistany Supsrintendent of Police ASP, Mohammed Yahaya, Stanley Nkwazema, Shehu Jibo, Abdullahi Adamu and Abdullahi Usman.
The prosecution said other suspects are on the run
At the time of this report, the defendants through their respective lawyers are battling with bail applications before Justice Nkeonye Evelyn Maha who took their plea.
Mrs Odili’s residence at 7, Imo Street, Maitama, Abuja, was, on October 29, allegedly invaded by armed security operatives on the grounds of alleged tip-off by a whistleblower, Aliyu Umar, who claimed to have observed suspicious activities at the residence.
An Abuja Chief Magistrate, Emmanuel Iyanna, was said to have issued a search warrant to a body identified as the Joint Panel Recovery Unit in the Ministry of Justice, leading to the invasion of Odili’s home.
The magistrate later revoked the order, saying he was misled while the police and other security agencies also said they was not aware of the raid.
The siege had drawn condemnation from many Nigerians and several interest groups, including the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), the Supreme Court, National Assembly, several state governors, civil society organisations, among others.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had separately denied authorising the raid or knowledge of it.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the State Security Services (DSS), both of which were also linked to the invasion, had denied involvement.
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