Abuja Court dismisses Gov Fubara loyalists’ bail requests, to remain in prison custody for trial.
By Kayode Lawal, Abuja.
February 05, 2024
The five loyalists of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State charged with terrorism offences by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) have lost their battle for bail at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Their bail applications, filed and argued by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Lukman Fagbemi, was rejected and dismissed for lacking in merit.
The five defendants charged with terrorism are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.
Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon on Monday refused them bail on the ground that they did not provide special circumstances to warrant their respective release from remand at the Kuje Prison in Abuja.
Delivering ruling on the bail applications, Olajuwon said the defendants, especially Chime Eguma Ezebalike and Prince Lukman Oladele, failed to give cogent and verifiable evidence to back up their request for bail.
The Judge held that in their affidavits in support of request for bail deposed to by one Mariam Alawiye, an office assistant, she claimed to have obtained information and exhibits on the defendants from some persons but refused to share the identities of the persons with the court.
To worsen the situation, the Judge said the deponent did also not make any documents or exhibits available to the Court to support all her assertions in the affidavit evidence.
Justice Olajuwon explained that an affidavit evidence must supply names of those who volunteered information about defendants in a criminal charge as stipulated by Section 115 of the Evidence Act.
The Court held that rather than containing facts as required by law, the affidavit contained extraneous issues that are not relevant to persuade any court to grant bail.
The Court disagreed with an assertions by the deponent that the defendants would not jump bail, commit any other offence or interfere with witness and investigation adding that claims were vague and hearsay because the deponent did not establish or produce any evidence.
To compound the problem, the Judge said that the defendants are charged with terrorism offences which are not ordinarily bailable.
In the application of Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Justice Olajuwon said that the claim of his 10 years of chronic hypertension and high blood pressure was not supported with any medical documents.
Besides, the Judge held that the counter claim by the IGP that the sickness can be managed by medical personnel of the prison was not disputed
While dismissing the bail request, Justice Olajuwon ordered them to remain in Kuje Prison from where they would be coming for their trial.
The Judge subsequently granted accelerated hearing and fixed February 8 for opening of trial by the Inspector General of Police IGP.
The IGP had on January 25 slammed terrorism charges on the five Port Harcourt-based men who allegedly invaded, vandalized and burnt down Rivers State House of Assembly last year.
They were alleged to have committed the alleged terrorism offences during the wake of political upheaval that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.
In the charges against them marked FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024, police alleged that
apart from burning down the State House of Assembly, some of them were said to have killed a Superintendent of Police, (SP) Bako Agbashim and five police informants at Ahoada community of the state.
The police informants said to have been killed by the defendants are 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.
Specifically, they are alleged to have on October 29, 2023 at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt conspired to commit acts of terrorism by wilful destruction of public properties by invading, attacking, destroying and burning of the Rivers State House of Assembly, an offence punishable under section 26 of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.
Part of the charges read, “That you, Chime Eguma Ezebalike, 37 years, business man of Street 5, Radio Estate Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Prince Lukman Oladele, 47 years of Okocha Street, Port Harcourt, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Hon Edison Ehie and others now at large on 29th of October 2023 at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, while acting in concert conspired together to commit felony to wit: acts of terrorism by wilful destruction of public properties by invading, attacking, destroying and burning of the Rivers State House of Assembly and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 26 (1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022.
“That you Chime Eguma Ezebalike, 37 years, business man of Street 5, Radio Estate Ozuoba, Port Harcourt, Prince Lukman Oladele, 47 years of Okocha Street, Port Harcourt, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Hon Edison Ehie and others now at large on 29th of October 2023 at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, while acting in concert and armed with dynamite, iron rods, lighters and other offensive weapons willfully and maliciously invaded, attacked and set fire on the Rivers State House of Assembly Complex and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.