A Federal High Court, sitting at Umuahia, Abia State, southern Nigeria, has granted bail to the Church of Lucifer founder, Ifekwe Udo and 17 others.
The Church of Lucifer founder and the others were arrested by the Police over the riot at Ebem Ohafia where government buildings were razed by irate mob.
A report at the time had said some youths of Ebem community in Ohafia council area had gone on a rampage following the killing of a young trader, identified as Ifeanyi Arunsi, by the Police.
Justice E Asiago, in his ruling on Monday, said the defendants’ application for bail followed the motion for their release by their counsel. The judge held that since the prosecution team led by S.A Ofoegbu did not oppose the application for bail, the defendants are deemed innocent until proven guilty.
The presiding judge stressed that the offence which the defendants were alleged to have committed are bail-able offences and granted them bail in the sum of N1,000,000 with two sureties each; one of which must be a traditional ruler or recognized chief and a senior civil servant.
Justice Asiago held that the sureties must have a verifiable address.
This came after S.A Ofoegbu, the prosecution counsel, explained that the interest is not to punish the defendants but to ensure they appear for trial.
Counsel to the church of Lucifer founder, Ibeka Esq, in his argument, pleaded on the stringent conditions to be applied in granting the 3rd accused bail, stressing that there is lingering acrimony in Ebem Ohafia where the church is located.
The Counsel to the church of Lucifer founder explained that as a result of sentiments over the incident, no traditional ruler or chief would like to stand surety for the Church of Lucifer founder.
After listening, the Justice Asiago ruled that he would not lower the standard because of the defendant and adjourned the matter to October 13, 2020, for trial.