Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja has refused to dismiss the terrorism charges brought against five loyalists of Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State.
The Judge on Friday declined to terminate the charges as requested by Hon Edison Ehie, the current Chief of Staff to the governor.
The court held that Ehie, who was the factional Speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly, lacked legal powers to request for dismissal of the charges.
Olajuwon upheld the submission of the counsel to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Simon Lough, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, that Ehie was not yet competent to make any application until he appears in court to take his plea in the terrorism charges.
Ehie, through his lawyer, Oluwole Aladedoye SAN, had applied that the criminal charges against him and others be dropped on various grounds.
He claimed that the Federal High Court in Abuja has no jurisdiction to entertain the trial because the alleged offences were committed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He also claimed that he had not been indicted by the police for any offence.
The request was, however, vehemently opposed on the ground that Ehie had not yet appeared before the court to take his plea.
The police lawyer cited Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act ACJA 2015.
In a brief ruling, Olajuwon dismissed the request of the former Speaker and upheld the arguments of the IGP.
The Judge said the charge sheet only indicated that Ehie is at large and not yet listed on the charge as required by law.
He counselled the Chief of Staff to either surrender himself to police or appear in court to take a plea before he could qualify to make any application..
The five defendants on the charge sheet are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.
In the 7-count charges, the defendants were accused of committing alleged terrorism offences by invading, vandalizing and burning down the Rivers State House of Assembly in the wake of the political crisis that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.