Court to hear Fubara’s chief of staff’s motion against arrest warrant on Monday


By Aluta News

Feb. 18, 2024

A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed Monday for the hearing of motions on notice filed by Edison Ehie, the Chief of Staff (CoS) to Gov. Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers, seeking an order vacating its earlier arrest warrant order against him and others.

Justice Emeka Nwite fixed the date after counsel for Ehie and five others, Femi Falana, SAN, and Oluwole Aladedoye, SAN, filed separate applications to the effect

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while Falana filed a motion seeking an order to set aside the Jan. 31 order made by Justice Nwite, Aladedoye filed an application for a stay of execution of the arrest order.

NAN reports that the judge had, on Jan. 31, issued a warrant for the arrest of Mr Ehie over his alleged involvement in the burning of part of the state’s House of Assembly on Oct. 29, 2023.

Justice Nwite, who gave the order while delivering a ruling in an ex-parte application brought by counsel for Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Simon Lough, SAN, also ordered the arrest of five other accomplices.

Those ordered to be arrested along with Ehie are Jinjiri Bala, Happy Benneth, Progress Joseph, Adokiye Oyagiri and Chibuike Peter also known as Rambo.

The court granted the ex-parte application as canvassed by Lough on the grounds that the six defendants had been at large to stand their trial in a seven-count preferred against five other suspected arsonists currently being prosecuted before a sister court.

The I-G had, in a charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024, arraigned Chime Eguma Ezebalike, 37; Prince Lukman Oladele, 47; Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, 40; Osiga Donald, 42; and Ochueja Thankgod , 35, before a sister court presided over by Justice Bolaji Olajuwon on Jan. 25 in Abuja.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the counts and were remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre.

The I-G, who arraigned them on a seven-count criminal charge bordering on terrorism and murder, declared Ehie and five others, said to be at large, wanted.

Ehie, who was recently appointed as CoS after he resigned as member and factional speaker of the assembly, was alleged to be among the suspects being charged by the I-G.

His resignation was said to be part of the agreements reached in the bid to reconcile Fubara and former Governor, Nyesom Wike, now the FCT Minister.

But in a motion marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/112/2024 dated Feb. 2 and filed Feb. 7 by Falana, Ehie and others sought two orders, including “an order setting aside the order made on the 31st January, 2024 for want of jurisdiction.

“An order of this honourable court staying the execution of the order made on the 31st January, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of this application.”

Giving six grounds of argument, Falana argued that the I-G (complainant/respondent) had not filed any criminal charge or motion before the court.

The senior lawyer argued that the court lacked the territorial jurisdiction to entertain the ex-parte application as the alleged offences of conspiracy, attempted murder, murder and arson took place in Port Harcourt, Rivers.

“He submitted that the court lacked the vires to grant an application to arrest and declare his clients wanted in respect of the alleged offences.

“The complainant/respondent (I-G) did not adduce evidence of terrorism in the affidavit in support of the application.

“The complainant/respondent did not cite any section of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013 (as amended) alleged to have been contravened by the applicants,” he argued.

Also, Aladedoye in a motion on notice dated and filed Feb. 9, sought two orders, including “an order staying execution or further execution of the order(s) of this honourable court made on the 31st of January, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the applicants.

“An order of injunction restraining the complainant from carrying out or further carrying out the orders of this honourable court made on the 31st January, 2024, pending the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the applicant in this case.”

Giving three-ground argument, Aladedoye said that a notice of appeal had already been filed against Justice Nwite’s orders.

According to the senior lawyer, the notice of appeal contains grounds which challenge the jurisdiction of this honourable court.

He argued that their appeal would be rendered nugatory if their application was not granted.


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