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AGF Takes Over Terrorism Trial of Fubara’s Loyalists

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN has asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to hands off in the terrorism trial of five loyalists of Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara.

The AGF said that he would take over the trial and subsequently directed the IGP to transfer the case file to his office in the Federal Ministry of Justice for a review of the indictment of the defendants.

Fagbemi made this known on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja where the five defendants have been facing trial for their alleged complicity in the burning of Rivers State House of Assembly and killing of a Divisional Police Officer DPO.

At the Tuesday’s resumption of the trial before Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon, the AGF through his lawyer, David Kaswe informed the Court that he had not effectively taken over the trial because the IGP was yet to comply with his directive to transfer the case file to him.

He subsequently applied for an adjournment to enable the Police Chief comply with his order and for him to study the case file and take a proper position.

When Justice Olajuwon asked IGP’s lawyer, Simon Lough SAN on why the case file had not been transmitted to the AGF, he blamed the delay on administrative bottleneck.

The Judge however counselled that the AGF directive be complied with by the IGP.

Justice Olajuwon thereafter shifted the resumption of the trial till May 7, 2024.

The Judge ordered that the five defendants be returned to Kuje prison in Abuja to continue their remand.

It will be recalled that the trial was also on Tuesday, March 20 scuttled by the heavy security that trailed the movement of the Biafra nation agitator, Nnamdi Kanu to the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The trial had stalled due to the inability of their lawyers to access the Court following the check points mounted by operatives of the Department of the State Service, DSS that led to restrictions of movement in the court areas.

The five men charged with terrorism offences by the Inspector General of Police, (IGP), are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.

The IGP had on January 25 slammed the terrorism charges on them for allegedly invading, vandalizing and burning down Rivers State House of Assembly last year.

They were accused of committing 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 are also accused of using various cult groups, 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.

The defendants have however denied the charges but ordered to be remanded in Kuje Prison in Abuja due to their inability to persuade the court for bail and the gravity of charges against them.

At the moment, they are seeking to challenge the competence of the terrorism charges against them and the territorial jurisdiction of the court to entertain the charge.

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