A Magistrate Court in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, has defied the National Judicial Council's order for courts to shut down across the country during the Coronavirus period.

Magistrate Dimas Gwama of Court IV, Yola, on Wednesday held a session to consider an ex-parte application to detain a lawyer, his client and one other person.

The trio, who had been on bail since last Saturday, were brought before the court on charges of terrorism, forgery and conspiracy to cause violence.

During the session, the Adamawa State Police Commissioner prayed the court for an order to remand the defendants in custody.

Relying on section 294 of the Adamawa State Administration of Criminal Justice law, the prosecution asked the court to remand three men in prison custody.

Counsel to the defendants, Jerry Owe, however, challenged the application on grounds of incompetence.

He said, "This charge was brought under ex-parte application, which permits the police to bring a person to court; apply that the person should be remanded in prison custody.

"Usually under this section of the law, the defendants and or their counsel, don't have a right of audience.

"But the court went beyond and took the plea of the defendants contrary to law, and by so doing, you have granted them a right of audience.

"Since the plea was taken before we arrived as their counsels, we now tried to explain to the court that they now have a right to be heard.

"Even if we do not have a right of audience as defence counsel, being lawyers, we can draw the attention of the court at any time when a law had not been complied with.

"However, the court in its wisdom went ahead and remanded them in police custody."

Commenting on the action of the court, another lawyer, Gabriel Akpanamasi, also faulted the remand order.

He said, "Besides flouting the orders of NJC to shut down courts till April 20, 2020, this kind of remand order is sought for from places where there is no court of competent jurisdiction.”

Reacting, Dr Umar Ardo, who is a former aide to former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, described the move as political victimisation.

He said, "The magistrate is being used by the Adamawa State Government as a pawn in its political chess game.

"For that, we are going to write a petition to the NJC on the magistrate who had exercised this injustice on us.

"And we are also going to write a petition before the Inspector General of Police against the police commissioner for being a pawn in the political chess game of the Adamawa State Government."

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