Court denies lone anti-Tinubu protester bail
By Our Correspondent
A Zuba Magistrate Court in Abuja on Tuesday refused to grant bail to the passenger who debarked and was handed over to the police for making sensitive statements about President-elect Bola Tinubu onboard an Ibom Air Abuja-Lagos bound flight, Obiajulu Uja.
Ruling in the bail application filed by Uja, though his counsel, Senior Magistrate Mohammed Abdulazeez Ismail, sitting in Zuba, Abuja, held that the application was premature.
He held that the exhibits attached to the application did not say the defendant was unfit to fail trial but rather indicated he was of unsound mind.
He also held that while the constitution guarantees every person’s liberty, a court can deprive a person of their liberty based on health grounds.
Citing the provisions of Section 35(1)(e) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and Section 278 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, the Magistrate held that Uja cannot be granted bail.
He held that where the mental capacity of a defendant is an issue, the court has the duty to ascertain the defendant’s medical situation.
He added that the exhibits attached to Uja’s bail application raised the issue of his medical capacity.
He subsequently turned down the bail application and ordered that Uja be held at the Kuje Correctional Center of the Nigerian Correctional Service.
He further ordered that the head of the center take the defendant to a government hospital to ascertain his mental capacity.
He then adjourned until April 20 for the report and hearing.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Uja had held up the aircraft for over an hour, and it took the efforts of six airport security officers to evacuate him after he started the protest.
The police accused Uja of threatening violence and causing a breach of peace with his actions.