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Rivers Assembly explosion: Court sends Fubara’s loyalists to prison

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Rivers Assembly explosion: Court sends Fubara’s loyalists to prison

A Federal High Court in Abuja, Thursday remanded loyalists of Siminalayi Fubara, River State governor for their alleged involvement in the explosion that rocked and razed the Rivers State Assembly complex.

Recall that an explosion had rocked the complex of the state Assembly amid alleged moves by some lawmakers to impeach Governor Fubara on October 30, 2023.

Some loyalists of the governor were said to have been behind the incident. And at least five of them were arraigned on Thursday before Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

They are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.

In the seven charges, the defendants were accused of committing alleged terrorism offences by invading, vandalising and burning down Rivers State House of Assembly during the wake of the political crisis that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.

They were also accused of killing a Superintendent of Police, Bako Agbashim, and five police informants in the Ahoada community of the state.

The police informants alleged to have been killed are Charles Osu, Ogbonna Eja, Idaowuka Felix, Paul Victor Chibuogu, and Saturday Edi.

They are to remain in prison custody till February 2 when their respective bail applications will be determined by the Judge.

They were also accused of using various cult groups, namely- Supreme Viking Confraternity, Degbam, Iceland, and Greenland to unleash mayhem on the people of the state and their commercial activities.

They all pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

Although the immediate past factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Edison Ehie, was not listed in the 7 counts terrorism charges, he was however represented in court by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Oluwole Aladedoyin, on the ground that his name featured prominently in the alleged offences.

He challenged the allegations that he was at large alongside other suspects.

Justice Olajuwon did not however allow further arguments on the ground that he was not yet a defendant in the charges.

Shortly after the arraignment, the leader of the prosecuting team, Audu Garba, applied for a date for a full-blown trial of the defendants.

However, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Lukman Fagbemi, who stood for Chime Eguma Ezebalike and Prince Lukman Oladele who are 1st and 2nd defendants, sought to move applications for their bail on the ground that they have been in police custody since last year.

The government lawyer, Audu Garba, vehemently opposed the reason that he had just been served with the bail applications and needed time to study them and file a counter affidavit.

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Justice Olajuwon agreed with the prosecution lawyer that the bail applications were not ripe for hearing and fixed February 2 for the hearing of all bail applications.

Pending hearing and determination of the bail applications, the judge ordered that the five defendants be taken to Kuje Prison on remand and be returned to court on the adjourned date.

“The defendants are hereby remanded pending the hearing and determination of the bail applications,” he said.

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