By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Five persons have been arrested by the police in Kwara state for attempting to cause mayhem at the resumed hearing of an appeal by the publisher of an online newspaper, Sahara reporters, seeking to set aside a N4 billion judgment awarded against it over a series of stories published last year by the medium against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Police sources claimed that the suspects had come from outside the state and were believed to be supporters of the online publisher.
There was pandemonium as the group confronted loyalists of Saraki who had also gathered to witness the court session.
In the process a middle-age woman was stripped bare while passersby ran towards different directions before the police came to restore law and order.
Confirming the development, the spokesman of the state police command, Ajayi Okasanmi, said investigation was still on to uncover the true identity of those arrested.
He said the command had envisaged the possibility of trouble at the resumed hearing, hence the decision to reinforce its normal presence on the court premises.
He said: “We went there to maintain the peace as usual but later there was rancour and we had to deploy more men and in the process we arrested some people. As at the last time I checked we had arrested five persons.”
Okasanmi said one of those arrested claimed to be a journalist but was yet to give proper identification of his status and medium.
However, report by the online medium indicated that one of those arrested was one Juwon Sanyaolu, described by the medium as an activist.
Earlier the court had directed the appellant, represented by Stanley Ihmaruo from the chambers of Femi Falana (SAN), to file an address of service within the jurisdiction of the court to enable the respondent deliver its responses.
The court had been told by counsel to Saraki/respondent that the appellant had failed to provide an address within the jurisdiction of the court and in line with the provisions of the state high court procedures, where they could be served written responses. The case was later adjourned to October 26, 2017 for hearing of the application by the appellant.
The state high court had awarded N4billion against the online medium for accusing the Senate president of misdeeds that were not substantiated. The defendants, the court had been told, had refused to defend the case despite the service of the summons on them. But the defendant later approached the court asking that the judgment be set aside, saying he was not served.