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Fubara ‘loyalists’ remanded in prison over burning of Rivers Assembly complex

A Federal High Court in Abuja has remanded five persons suspected to have participated in the burning of the Rivers State House of Assembly complex.

The suspects, who are believed to be loyalists of Governor Fubara, are Chima Eguma Ezebalike, Princess Lukman Oadele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.

Justice Bolaji Olajuwon on Thursday said the five suspects will remain at the Nigerian Correctional Service, Kuje until February 2 when the court will rule on their bail applications.

The federal government in the 7-count charges accused the suspects of committing alleged terrorism offences by invading, vandalising and burning down the Rivers State House of Assembly in Port Harcourt with dynamite, iron rods, lighters and other offensive weapons in October last year.

The suspects were also accused of killing a Superintendent of Police Bako Agbashim and five police informants in the Ahoada community of the state, who were identified as 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.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges marked FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024.

The prosecution alleged that the offences breached the provisions of Section 26 (1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act 2022 and Section 1 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

The former factional Speaker of the state assembly, Edison Ehie, who was not listed in the 7-count terrorism charges, was represented by Oluwole Aladedoyin (SAN) to challenge allegations of being at large over the matter.

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, prosecution counsel, Audu Garba applied for a date for the commencement of trial.

Cofence counsel, Lukman Fagbemi (SAN), sought to move applications for their bail, arguing that they have been in detention since last year.

The prosecution counsel, Garba, vehemently opposed, submitting that the team had just been served with the bail applications and needed time to study them and file a counter affidavit.

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