A Federal High Court sitting in Jos has granted bail to three suspects being tried over alleged illegal tax collection; they are still languishing in the Correctional Centre.
This is because the Police Command in Plateau has declined to take them on bail as ordered by Justice Musa Kurya, the Presiding Judge in the matter being prosecuted by the police.
Justice Kurya had on July 20 granted bail to the suspects, Alhaji Sule Yaro, Adamu Ibrahim and Austin Obeh, after listening to the bail application raised by their (suspect’s) counsel, Mr. Samson Bukar.
Kurya had ordered the Police Prosecution Counsel, Mr. N.K. Tali and the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) One Wahav, to take the suspects on bail and adjourned the case to Oct. 29 for hearing.
But the Prosecution Counsel in a chat with newsmen in Jos on why they have complied with the order said, “The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is regimental institution and has no such right or power to take any suspect on bail in any court case.”
“The law is clear about this and we can’t go against the law simply because there is a court ruling.
“Even the defense counsels know that fact, which explained why they quickly prepared a motion challenging the court ruling, but which couldn’t be heard before the court went in vocation on Friday, July 24,” Tali explained.
Tali argued, “as it stands, they (suspects) have to exercise patient to remain in the recreation center until Oct. 29, when the case will come up again after the vocation.”
Our Correspondent reports that the suspects were arrested on Feb. 20 along Maraba Jama’a – Abuja Road where they had allegedly mounted illegal check points and were allegedly collecting illegal revenue of farm produce and livestock.
They (accused) were alleged to be “extorting motorists under the guise of collecting tax on agricultural produce and livestock.
But when the accused, which were being tried on a three-count charge, were arraigned before Justice Kurya they pleaded not guilty.
Their (accused’s) counsel, Bukar, had applied for their bail on the ground that the offences on which they are being tried are bailable.
Consequently, the judge granted them bail but the condition attached to the bail is yet to be met, and so they are still languishing in the recreation center in Jos.