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Abuja Pastor Preaching With AK-47 Seeks Judicial Review of Trial

The Presiding Pastor of the House on the Rock in Abuja, Uche Aigbe, arraigned before an FCT Magistrates Court for bearing an AK-47 rifle, has approached a Federal Capital Territory High Court to seek judicial review of his trial.

Aigbe, during a Sunday church service in February 2023, mounted the pulpit with an AK-47 rifle to illustrate his sermon titled “Guarding your faith.”

He was subsequently arraigned alongside Olakunle Ogunleye and Promise Ukachukwu for possession of a prohibited firearm (AK-47 rifle), inciting disturbance and abetting illegal possession of a firearm.

They were arraigned before Senior Magistrate Mohammed Ismail, sitting at Zuba, Abuja.

Aigbe was specifically said to have contravened Section 3 of the Firearms Act, Cap F28 Law of the Federation.

At the FCT High Court on Monday, the counsel for the defendants, P.H. Ogbole, SAN, told the court that they filed a motion on notice seeking a judicial review of the proceedings at the lower court.

He added that the issues of jurisdiction were raised, urging the court to grant their prayers.

In the motion on notice marked M/13706/2023, the lawyer alleged that the magistrates’ court violated their fundamental rights to a fair hearing in one of its proceedings.

He said, “The proceedings of March 28, 2023, at the Zuba Magistrate’s Court, wherein the magistrate descended into the arena of conflict is wrongful, in a clear misapplication of the law and a violation of their fundamental right to a fair hearing.”

He further sought a declaration, among others, ”That the proceedings of June 19, 2023, at the Magistrate’s Court in the trial of the applicants wherein the magistrate admitted a compact disc as an exhibit without viewing the content of the exhibit in the open court is wrongful, in clear misapplication of the law and a violation of their fundamental right to fair hearing.”

The lawyer stated that the motion was brought pursuant to Section 227(2) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); Sections 19 and 33 of the FCT High Court Act Cap 510 LFN 2007; Order 44 Rule 1 of the FCT High Court Civil Procedure Rules, 2018.

On his part, counsel for the commissioner of police, Inah Umoh, urged the court to dismiss the application.

He urged the court to allow the lower court to continue with the matter.

“The essence of a judicial review is to show that the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction.

“In this case, Section 27(4) and (5) give jurisdiction to the court to try such offence summarily,” he added.

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, after listening to the submissions of both counsel in the matter, fixed May 15 for ruling on the application.

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