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Fubara condemns arraignment of loyalists over House of Assembly bombing

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Wike Fubara

The Rivers State Government voiced dissatisfaction on Thursday with the arraignment of some of Governor Siminalayi Fubara’s loyalists in connection with the bombing of the Rivers State Assembly complex on October 30, 2023.

On Thursday, the police brought the Fubara’s supporters before the Federal High Court in Abuja. The court remanded them until February 2.

Reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Joseph Johnson, said, “There is nobody who will be happy to say that we have counted about four or 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 the Supreme Court judgment (affirming Fubara’s election) will try to build back most of the lost ground. I want to believe all these things are politically motivated.

“So we (Fubara-led government) will follow due process, and the law requires that for you to take somebody out of the correctional center, 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.”

Speaking on the development, 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 investigations, 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 Rivers Assembly was bombed amid a scheme by 27 members loyal to Rivers’ immediate former governor, Nyesom Wike, to impeach Fubara.

The defendants charged by the police in connection with the incidents were Chime Ezebalike, Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Kpasa, Osiga Donald, and Ochueja Thankgo, Fubara’s allies.

The suspects were charged with seven counts of alleged terrorism, including invading, vandalizing, and burning down the Rivers State House of Assembly building.

They were also suspected of killing the state’s Superintendent of Police, Bako Agbashim, as well as five police informants in the Ahoada neighborhood.

Charles Osu, Ogbonna Eja, Idaowuka Felix, Paul Victor Chibuogu, and Saturday Edi are the suspected police informants who were killed.

They were also accused of utilizing different cult groups, including the Supreme Viking Confraternity, Degbam, Iceland, and Greenland, to cause havoc on the state’s citizens and business activity.

The prosecution said they had committed an offense “punishable under Section 26(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

However, Edison Ehie, the former factional speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was not named in the charges. He was represented in court by Oluwole Aladedoyin (SAN), whose name was prominently featured in the indictment.

He denied the accusation of being at large with other suspects.

Justice Olajuwon rejected additional arguments, claiming that Ehie was not yet a defendant in the allegations.

However, the attorney for Ezebalike and Oladele, Lukman Fagbemi (SAN), sought their bail, noting that they had been in police custody since 2023.

Audu Garba, the government counsel, was passionately opposed to the bail application, claiming that he had just been served with it and needed time to examine it before filing a counter-affidavit.

Justice Olajuwon agreed with the prosecution lawyer that the bail applications were not ready for hearing and scheduled a hearing for all bail applications on February 2.

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

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