After spending 155 days in detention, the Nigeria Police has finally arraigned Gloria Okorie on 12-count charge bordering on terrorism. She was arraigned before Justice Taiwo Taiwo of Federal High Court, Abuja, but pleaded not guilty to all the counts in charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/297/2021, dated August 31, 2021.
After taking her plea, Justice Taiwo remanded her at Suleja Correctional Centre and adjourned till November 18 for hearing of the bail application dated November 10 and filed by her legal representatives made up of Deji Ajare, Nanpon Wuyep, Samuel Ihensekhien Jnr and four others.
The Police also filed a counter application opposing the bail application filed on her behalf. Gloria, who had just finished writing the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Examination (JAMB) was arrested, while on an errand for her parents on allegation that she was spying for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
She was arrested on June 17, 2021, by the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in Owerri, Imo State, which held her secretly with her parents not knowing her whereabouts, until her secret detention was revealed by the commercial motorcyclist who was conveying her when they were both arrested.
There were speculations that all may not be well with the young woman, which was why the police did not allow anyone, including her family members and lawyers access to her.
In the joined petition signed by Rural and urban Development Initiatives, HEDA Resource Centre, Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy & Development (FENRAD Nigeria), Concerned Nigeria and 15 others, the group said it will continue to monitor and update on the progress of the prosecution of Gloria Okorie.
It said: “Our representatives will be visiting her in prison to ascertain her state of health, including her physical and psychological integrity and to accord her all necessary legal, medical and psychological support that she may need at this time.
“Our legal team will also be following up on earlier fundamental human rights suits filed on her behalf and pending at the FCT High Court and the ECOWAS Court respectively.
“The Police continued to hold her in blatant disregard to court orders for her release. The Vice President had also forwarded to the IGP a letter addressed to him by our coalition requesting his intervention. We did not get any further feedback on this letter.
“It is the height of impunity when the Police feel free to act with such utter disregard to the Constitution of the country, the Police Act and other criminal justice procedural laws as well as regional and international human rights standards that Nigeria voluntarily subscribes to.
“It is even more worrisome when police oversight agencies and political authorities, who ought to call the Police to order on such occasions look the other way and even ignore public demands for action against Police’s flagrant violation of the law and contempt for court orders.
“As a coalition, we will continue to monitor the progress of this case to ensure that justice is not further delayed.”