For the 76 Ugwuleshi indigenes in Awgu Community, Enugu State, they would ever hate that faithful day they gathered to organize a search party for two of their women allegedly abducted by Fulani herdsmen who have been having a running battle with them over destruction of their farm lands. They woke up to realize that two of their women were allegedly abducted by the Fulani herdsmen and they decided to organize a search party to look for them. While they gathered to commence the search, they ran into some soldiers on patrol who, seeing the large number of men, confronted them. They were said to have satisfactorily explained themselves to the soldiers who it was said, wanted to leave them.
But suddenly, it was alleged that one Alhaji came out and met them and allegedly placed a call after which some more army vans arrived and bundled them to Umuahia where they were clamped into prisons. That was how their ordeal drew public outcry. Their arrest created fear and tension in the community. Following public outcry and condemnation, they were arraigned in court last Friday in two Magistrate Courts on a five count arson and illegal possession of dangerous weapons charge as well as burning down 90 houses at Obinwanne Fulani Community Settlement in Umunneochi.
When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty. The presiding Magistrate granted them bail in the sum of N200, 000 each with five sureties who must be resident in Umuahia or Umunneochi. Alternatively, the traditional ruler of the community would sign with two other prominent persons he nominated and who are resident in Umuahia or Umunneochi. Their bail conditions were perfected at about 4.47pm, prompting them to erupt in jubilation in the court premises thankful for breathing the air of freedom after two weeks of imprisonment. The matter was adjourned to April 29, 2016 for trial.
Reacting to the development, the traditional ruler of the Community, Igwe Godwin Nwobi expressed happiness that his people have been granted bail, saying “at least I can now sleep”. The monarch has been in Umuahia for three days running, trying to effect the release of the people.
Also the law maker representing them in the Enugu State House of Assembly, Mr. Nelson Ogunji said he was happy that his constituents have been granted bail, just as he lamented their arrest in the first place. According to him, Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has promised to make sure that such incident never happens again, as they were working towards finding a lasting solution to it.
Their lawyer, Damain Uche Ajah, also expressed joy that the Court granted his clients bail and said that they were ready for the trial proper, Vanguard reports.