Court Sends 5 To Kuje Prison Over Burning Of Rivers Assembly

Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has ordered that the five Port Harcourt-based men arraigned by the federal government on terrorism charges be remanded at Kuje prison in Abuja.
They are to remain in prison custody till February 2, 2024 when their respective bail applications would be determined by the court.
Those remanded are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.

In the seven-count 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 political crisis that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.
Beside allegedly burning down the Assembly complex, they were also accused of killing a Superintendent of Police, (SP) Bako Agbashim and five police informants at 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.
The government also accused them 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.
However, when the charges against them marked FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024 were read, they all pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Although the immediate past factional Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Edison Ehie was not listed in the 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 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 the police custody since last year.
The government lawyer, Audu Garba opposed the bail with the reason that he had just been served with the bail applications and needed time to study them and file counter affidavits.
Justice Olajuwon agreed with the prosecution lawyer that the bail applications were not ripe for hearing and fixed February 2 for hearing of all 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.

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