An Abuja magistrate court sitting in Wuse Zone 6 in the Federal Capital Abuja, yesterday dismissed the case brought before it against 19 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria arrested in Abuja early last month while peacefully conducting a free Zakzaky procession.
The people were arrested and charged with unlawful assembly, rioting, and criminal conspiracy among other charges. They were all however earlier granted bail at the first sitting last month, after they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
On resumption of hearing however, all the accused persons and their counsels were present in court, but none of the prosecuting police officers were present in court.
When the case was called, the defense lawyer observed that that the prosecutors were absent from court, and told the court that the police apparently were not interested in pursuing the case further. He therefore asked the court to strike out the case instantly.
The magistrate therefore struck out the case for lack of seriousness of the prosecution and unwillingness of the prosecutors to continue with the case. That effectively set all the accused free of all charges against them.
It will be recalled that from early this year, members of the Islamic Movement have been conducting series of peaceful free Zakzaky campaigns, which the police often viciously attacked with tear gas, water cannon, gun shots, clubs and sticks, wounding and killing many in the process. At the same time they arrested many and charged them to various courts for flimsy charges like unlawful assembly and all that.