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Court sends 5 men to Kuje prison for burning Rivers Assembly complex, murder of policemen

Besides allegedly burning down the State House of Assembly, they were also accused of killing a Superintendent of Police, (SP) Bako Agbashim and five police informants at the Ahoada community of the state.

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Court sends 5 men to Kuje prison for burning Rivers Assembly complex, murder of policemen

Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court Abuja has ordered that the five Port Harcourt-based men arraigned by the Federal Government on terrorism charges be remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre.

They are to remain in prison custody till February 2 when their respective bail applications will be determined by the Judge.

The five defendants are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.

In the seven counts, the defendants were accused of committing alleged terrorism offences by invading, vandalizing and burning down the Rivers State House of Assembly, during the wake of a political crisis that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.

Besides allegedly burning down the State House of Assembly, they were also accused of killing a Superintendent of Police, (SP) Bako Agbashim and five police informants at the 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 Federal Government also accused them of using various cult groups, to unleash mayhem on the people of the state and their commercial activities.

They, however, pleaded pleaded not guilty to the offences.

Although the immediate past Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Edison Ehie, was not listed in the 7-count 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 lead counsel for the prosecution, Audu Garba, applied for a date for the trial of the defendants.

However, Counsel for Chime Ezebalike and Lukman Oladele who are 1st and 2nd defendants, sought to move applications for their bail on the ground that they have been in police custody since last year.

Audu Garba opposed it for the reason that he had just been served with the bail applications and needed time to study them and file a counter affidavit.

READ ALSO: Ex-Minister of Power Agunloye remanded in Kuje prison over $6bn Mambilla fraud

Justice Olajuwon agreed with the prosecution lawyer that the bail applications were not ripe for hearing and fixed February 2 for the hearing of all bail applications.

The Judge ordered that the five defendants be remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre, pending a hearing and determination of the suit.

On October 29, 2023, the defendants were alleged to have, at Moscow Road in Port Harcourt, conspired to commit acts of terrorism by the 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.

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