Some 16 persons suspected to have taken part in the mid-week protests in Ilorin, Kwara state have been arraigned before an Ilorin Magistrate court on allegations of criminal conspiracy, criminal force and assault as well as rioting.
Although the prosecution team argued against releasing the accused on bail, Chief Magistrate Nureni Kuranga ruled against the argument as he noted that bail should not be withheld from them as a pre-trial punishment but something done to ensure their subsequent attendance in court. Each of the accused was admitted on bail to the tune of N100, 000 and a surety in like sum while the mater was adjourned to March 15, 2011 for mention.
The accused were arrested by a team of security operatives led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Tunde Gbolarunmi for allegedly assembling in a riotous manner and blocking the highway. They were also alleged to have attacked the police with stones and other dangerous missiles during which an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Idris Aloma as seriously injured. The court was told that the accused were arrested while taking part in the riot.
It will be recalled that economic activities were paralysed for hours in Ilorin,, following a wave of protest by youths from communities along the Ilorin-Ajasepo Road over a 2.5 kilometre stretch of the road that has been under rehabilitation for about a year which they alleged had been abandoned. The construction work had turned many of the residents into ‘brown beings’, they claimed alleging that many of them and other users of the road who are allergic to dust have suffered untold hardship over the delayed completion of the project.
As early as 7.30 in the morning youths living along the road had come out to make bonfires first around the major roundabout at Offa Garage area and were said to have been repelled by security agents.