Politics News

Fubara frowns at loyalists’ arraignment over Assembly bombing

The Rivers State Government, on Thursday, expressed its unhappiness about the arraignment of some loyalists of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, in connection with the October 30, 2023 bombing of the Rivers State Assembly complex.
The police on Thursday arraigned the governor’s loyalists before the Federal High Court in Abuja. They were remanded by the court till February 2.
Reacting to the development in an interview with The PUNCH, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, “There is nobody that will be happy to say that we have counted about four, five of them that are in detention. It is not very salutary. But what can we do? It is part of the challenge and I am sure that Supreme Court judgment (affirming Fubara’s election) will try to build back most of the lost grounds. I want to believe all these things are politically motivated.
“So we will follow due process and the law requires that for you to take somebody out of the Correctional Centre you must follow due process. And if the court has adjourned we will plead with those who are affected to endure as we make preparations to grant them bail.”
On their part, the Rivers elders, through their leader, Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe, said, “A crime was committed in Port Harcourt and the people arrested are suspects. Nobody quarrels about police investigation, but since the crime was committed in Port Harcourt it is assumed that they would be tried in Port Harcourt. And the crime committed is within the state. I don’t know why it has to go to the Federal High Court. The police know what they are doing and it is very obvious that there is a fifth columnist in this matter.”
The PUNCH reports that the Rivers Assembly was bombed amid a plot by 27 lawmakers loyal to the immediate-past governor of Rivers, Nyesom Wike, to impeach Fubara.
The defendants arraigned by the police in connection with the incidents were Chime Ezebalike, Lukman Oladele, Kenneth 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 the Rivers State House of Assembly building.
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 were Charles Osu, Ogbonna Eja, Idaowuka Felix, Paul Victor Chibuogu, and Saturday Edi.
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.
The prosecution said they committed an offence “punishable under Section 26 (1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.”
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Although, the former factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Edison Ehie, was not listed in the charges. he was represented in court by Oluwole Aladedoyin (SAN) because his name was prominently featured in the charges.
He contested the accusation of being at large with other suspects.
Justice Olajuwon declined additional arguments, stating that Ehie was not yet a defendant in the charges.
However, the counsel for Ezebalike and Oladele, Lukman Fagbemi (SAN), applied for his clients’ bail, noting that they had been in police custody since 2023.
The government lawyer, Audu Garba, vehemently opposed the bail application,saying he had just been served with the bail applications and needed time to study them to file a counter-affidavit.
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.
“The defendants are hereby remanded pending the hearing and determination of the bail applications, “ he said.

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