5 ar­rested for at­tempt­ing to dis­rupt court pro­ceed­ings

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - From Romoke W. Ah­mad, Ilorin

Five per­sons were yes­ter­day ar­rested by the po­lice in Kwara State for at­tempt­ing to cause may­hem at the re­sumed hear­ing of an ap­peal by the pub­lisher of an on­line medium, Sa­hara Re­porters, who is seek­ing to set aside a N4 bil­lion judg­ment awarded against his medium over se­ries of sto­ries it pub­lished last year against the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Dr Bukola Saraki.

Po­lice sources claimed that the sus­pects had come from out­side the state and were be­lieved to be sup­port­ers of the on­line pub­lisher.

There was pan­de­mo­nium as the group con­fronted loy­al­ists of Saraki, who had also gath­ered to wit­ness the court ses­sion.

In the process, a mid­dle-aged woman was stripped bare while passers-by ran hel­ter-skel­ter be­fore the po­lice ar­rived to re­store law and or­der.

Con­firm­ing the de­vel­op­ment, the spokesman of the state po­lice com­mand, Ajayi Okasanmi, said in­ves­ti­ga­tion was still on to un­cover the true iden­tity of those ar­rested.

Okasanmi said the com­mand had en­vis­aged the pos­si­bil­ity of trou­ble at the re­sumed hear­ing, hence the de­ci­sion to re­in­force its nor­mal pres­ence on the court premises.

“We went there to main­tain the peace as usual but later there was ran­cour and we had to de­ploy more men and, in the process, we ar­rested some peo­ple. At the last time I checked, we had ar­rested five per­sons,” the po­lice spokesman said.

He said one of those ar­rested claimed to be a jour­nal­ist but was yet to give proper iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of his sta­tus and medium.

How­ever, a re­port by the on­line medium in­di­cated that one of those ar­rested was one Ju­won Sanyaolu, it de­scribed as an ac­tivist.

Ear­lier, the court had di­rected the ap­pel­lant, rep­re­sented by Stanley Ih­maruo from the cham­bers of Femi Falana, to file an ad­dress of ser­vice within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the court to en­able the re­spon­dent de­liver its re­sponses.

The court had been told by coun­sel to Saraki/re­spon­dent that the ap­pel­lant had failed to pro­vide an ad­dress within the ju­ris­dic­tion of the court and in line with the pro­vi­sions of the state high court pro­ce­dures, where they could be served writ­ten re­sponses. The case was later ad­journed to Oc­to­ber 26, 2017 for hear­ing of the ap­pli­ca­tion by the ap­pel­lant.

The state high court had awarded N4 bil­lion against the on­line medium for ac­cus­ing the Se­nate pres­i­dent of mis­deeds it ruled were not sub­stan­ti­ated. The de­fen­dants, the court had been told, had re­fused to de­fend the case de­spite the ser­vice of sum­mons on them. But the de­fen­dant later ap­proached the court ask­ing that the judge­ment be set aside, say­ing he was not served.

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