The oral application by the loyalists of River State Governor, Siminalaye Fubara, challenging the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in Abuja has been rejected. The case involves five individuals accused of terrorism-related offenses, including the murder of police officers and the destruction of the Rivers House of Assembly building.
The trial judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon, had previously denied bail for three of the defendants. During the recent proceedings, the counsel for the first and second defendants, Lukman Fagbemi, (SAN), made an oral application to contest the court’s jurisdiction. However, the judge insisted that a written application should have been filed instead of an oral one.
Fagbemi argued that the issue of jurisdiction is fundamental and can be raised orally as well as in written form. The counsel for the third defendant aligned himself with Fagbemi’s position, while the counsel for the fourth and fifth defendants stated that he was newly briefed on the matter.
The prosecution’s counsel expressed readiness for the trial and informed the court that their witnesses were prepared. Despite the prosecution’s readiness, the judge decided to adjourn the case due to the newly briefed counsel, emphasizing that it was for the sake of a fair hearing.
The judge adjourned the matter until March 12, 2024.