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Court dismisses oral application from Fubara loyalists

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In a case involving five loyalists of River State Governor, Siminalaye Fubara, a Federal High Court in Abuja has rejected an oral application challenging its jurisdiction.

On January 25, the police arraigned Chime Ezebalike, Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod on seven counts of terrorism-related offences, murder of police officers, and vandalising and burning down the Rivers House of Assembly building.

There was an explosion on October 30, 2023, which destroyed the state House of Assembly building, coinciding with purported efforts by certain lawmakers to impeach Fubara.

During the recent proceedings, the trial judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon, rejected a bail application filed by three of the defendants.

At the Thursday proceedings, Lukman Fagbemi, (SAN), representing the first and second defendants, made an oral application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the matter.

However, the judge emphasized the necessity of filing a written application instead of presenting it orally.

Fagbemi insisted that the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental and can be raised orally as well as in written form.

Subsequently, the judge sought the views of other counsel involved in the matter.

The third defendant’s counsel, M.S Ibrahim, aligned himself with Fagbemi’s position, while the counsel for the fourth and fifth defendants, Adeolu Salako, mentioned being newly briefed about the matter.

The prosecution’s counsel, Simon Lough, informed the court of their readiness for trial and the presence of their witnesses.

The judge then adjourned the matter till March 12, 2024, citing the need to accommodate the newly briefed counsel for a fair hearing.

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