Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Nigeria: Four Sisters Sent to Prison Under Controversial Circumstances Released On Bail

The magistrate, however, refused to release their brother on bail.

A Magistrate Court in Owerri, Imo State, has granted bail to four sisters who were hurriedly arraigned and remanded in prison in the state under controversial circumstances.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the sisters were arrested earlier this month, alongside their brother, Solomon Ohadoma, and a yet-to-be-identified resident over a civil case.

They were hurriedly arraigned and sent to prison within hours while being denied access to a lawyer.

Their parents were not aware of the arraignment.

Arrest and hurried arraignment

Some police officers went to a compound where the family is living, ostensibly to arrest Mr Ohadoma who allegedly seized a mobile phone from a yet-to-identified man in the area who was indebted to him.

The officers arrested Mr Ohadoma, and his four sisters as well as a resident who was filming the officers while they were beating one of the sisters.

The five siblings and the resident were hurriedly arraigned in the Magistrate Court, Owerri and remanded in Owerri Correctional Centre on 10 March.

PREMIUM TIMES observed that the arrest of the suspects, their arraignment and their movement to the prison happened in less than 24 hours.

Bail of the four sisters and the resident

The court hearing on the matter was fixed for 5 April but was rescheduled to 22 March following appeals by the suspects’ family.

The case was, however, stalled afterwards because of the magistrate’s absence on the rescheduled date, this newspaper learnt.

Another date – 29 April – was fixed for the case.

Benjamin Ohadoma, a brother to the suspects, told PREMIUM TIMES that their mother broke down in tears at the courtroom, complaining that the adjourned date was too long.

As a result, the court clerk quickly phoned the magistrate and later announced that the matter would be heard the next day, which was 23 March.

At the resumed hearing, the magistrate granted bail to the four sisters but refused their brother’s bail application. The resident was granted bail.

Mr Ohadoma, whose bail application was rejected by the magistrate, was charged with alleged robbery, assault against police officers, conspiracy and disturbance of public of peace, while his sisters were charged with alleged assault against police officers, their family said.

The hearing has been adjourned till 29 April, and Mr Ohadoma is likely to remain in the prison facility till then.

“I spoke with him yesterday. He was complaining of poor nutrition in prison and many other issues,” Mr Ohadoma’s brother, Benjamin, told PREMIUM TIMES.


One of the embattled sisters, Ms Ohadoma, 9 March, raised an alarm that her 29-year-old brother, Mr Ohadoma, was being molested by some police officers.

“Please, I need help, this police officer is shooting at my brother in broad daylight,” she said in the Twitter post, which was accompanied by a video clip of the incident.

In the 15-second clip, some gun-wielding police officers were seen beating up Mr Ohadoma.

While sympathisers attempted to shield the victim from the beating, one of the officers appeared to be threatening them – the sympathisers – and cocking his rifle.

“You are releasing bullet on my own brother,” Ms Ohadoma was heard yelling at one of the officers in a mixture of Igbo and English languages.

Ms Ohadoma, in a separate Twitter post, narrated how the incident started.

She said her brother, a building engineer, was contracted to handle a project which he completed. But the yet-to-be-identified man who contracted her brother reportedly refused to pay him after he had completed the project.

She said a few days after he promised to transfer the money to her brother’s bank account, the man directed him to another person whom he said would pay him the money. But the person also failed to pay the money, according to Ms Ohadoma.

Frustrated, Mr Ohadoma went back to the man – the debtor – and grabbed his phone, insisting he would only return it when his money had been paid to him.

Ms Ohadoma said some of th