Jones Abiri wants trial transferred to Bayelsa

Jones Abiri
Jones Abiri

Recently released journalist, Jones Abiri, has asked a Magistrate court in Abuja to transfer his trial by the Nigerian government to Bayelsa State.

Mr Abiri is being tried over allegations that he was linked to armed militancy in the Niger Delta.

The federal government had arraigned him before a magistrate court in Abuja.

Before the arraignment, he had been detained by the State Security Service (SSS) for two years without trial.

Mr Abiri, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Weekly Source Newspaper, was granted bail after he was charged to court following public outcry.

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He was released on August 15 after meeting his bail conditions. His release came after the court reviewed his bail conditions.

On Wednesday, in an application brought by his lawyer, Mr Abiri asked the court to transfer his trial to Bayelsa, since that was where he was arrested.

Speaking during the opening of the session at the court on Wednesday, the defence counsel, Samuel Ogala, said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act gives a defendant not comfortable with the court, especially in terms of territorial jurisdiction, the right to apply for transfer of the case to another court that has jurisdiction.

“In this case, the element of the alleged crime all happened in Bayelsa State and this is the Federal Capital Territory. So he cannot be charged under the Penal Code, it has to be taken to Bayelsa State where he can be charged under the Criminal Code, that is why we had to file for the court to transfer the matter to the state,” Mr Ogala said.

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“Up till now, the DSS (Directorate of State Security) has not served us with the proof of charge for the second defendant (Collins Truman) and there is no connection between the second defendant and the first defendant(Mr Abiri), we don’t know why they are lumping the charges together.

“They are charging him for criminal intimidation that he asked for ransom, he has denied all the charges,” the counsel said.

However, counsel to the SSS (also called DSS), Hamisu J, responded that the defence was served the application on Tuesday.

Mr Hamisu said he needed time to go through the application by the defence and thereafter requested for an adjournment.

After listening to both counsel, the chief magistrate,. Chukwuemeka Nweke, adjourned the matter to September 17 for mention.

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