The Buganda Road Magistrates Court has granted bail to nine students from various universities who were last week remanded to Luzira Prison on charges of being a common nuisance.
The students are:
Imran Ntabazi, a student at Gulu University, David Musiri and Vincent Lubega Nsamba from Makerere University, and six Kyambogo University students identified as Gerald Wenani, Gonga Akisi, Marktom Kajubi, Benjamin Akiso, Alphonse Nkuruziza and Alex Waswa Lyazi.
These have been granted a cash bail of 100,000 shillings and their sureties who included parents, fellow students and environmentalists asked to execute a non cash bond of 5 million shillings each cash by the Grade One Magistrate Fidelis Otwao.
The granting of bail has followed a successful application by the lawyers representing the students led by Eron Kiiza.
Kiiza has told the Court that the accused persons are students who want to go back to their respective universities and continue with their studies and that the charges against them are bailable by the Court where they are being charged from.
It is alleged that the students who were dressed in university gowns armed with placards and banners calling for a halt of the oil pipeline project last week obstructed and inconvenienced the public by being rowdy and blocking walkways around the Crested Towers in Kampala City as they held a protest with a petition they were going to deliver to the European Union offices in support of the EU resolution.
.The resolution asked government to halt the EACOP project until safeguards are implemented to stop human rights violations and environmental degradation.
But while applying for the students’ bail, Kiiza has argued that it’s their constitutional right to seek for temporary freedom adding that they have substantial sureties whom he ably explained to,the duties of being a surety such as making sure that the accused return to court for trial and they seemed to have understood.
Kiiza thus asked the Court to release them on a reasonable amount of money arguing that his clients did not have any source of income since they are students who largely depend on their parents and guardians for survival.
It’s against this background that the Magistrate Otwao has ordered a bail amount of 100,000 shillings each cash and adjourned the case to October 25th 2022 for mention.
Trouble for the students started last week as they were going to deliver a petition to the European Union offices in Kampala to support their resolution to delay the 3.5 billion dollar oil pipeline project which will transport crude oil from the Albertine region of Uganda to Tanzania’s seaport of Tanga.
They were arrested by police and kept at the Central Police Station in Kampala from where they emerged to be remanded to Luzira Prison where they have been for six days.
The nine students were arrested a few days after a group of learners from various schools under their umbrella the Uganda Students Association marched around Kampala and Hoima streets accompanied by brass bands and the police to protest against the same resolution.
The project launched in 2021 has since been at the centre of controversy over issues such as the delayed payment of project affected persons and the secrecy surrounding the host government agreement for the pipeline, the Tariff and Transportation Agreement and Share Holding Agreement signed between Uganda and Tanzania.
But the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has since indicated that the project will go on as planned.