In what could be regarded as judicial uncertainty, Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court Abuja has issued a warrant for the arrest of Edison Ehie, the Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor Siminalayi Fubara, for his alleged involvement in the State House of Assembly fire.
However, the Port Harcourt Division of the Rivers State High Court issued an ex parte order prohibiting the Nigeria Police Force and other security services from arresting, detaining, or harassing Ehie.
Ehie, the immediate former Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, was ordered to be arrested together with five other people in Port Harcourt for allegedly engaging in illegal activities.
Those ordered to be arrested along with the former Speaker are Jinjiri Bala, Happy Benedict, Progress Joseph, Adokiye Oyagiri and Chibuike Peter also known as Rambo.
Justice Nwite granted order on Wednesday for their arrest while delivering ruling in an ex-parte application brought before him by the Inspector General of Police IGP.
The ex-parte application was predicated on sections 37, 113, 114, 84 and 184 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 and section 35 of the 1999 Constitution as well as 32 of the Police Act 2020.
In the ex-parte application argued by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough, the six defendants were said to be at large.
The DCP who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, submitted that the defendants are involved in conspiracy, arson, terrorism, attempted murder and murder of a Superintendent of Police SP Bako Agbashim and five other police informants.
The five police informants they are alleged to have killed are Charles Osu, Ogbonna Eja, Idaowuka Felix, Paul Victor Chibuogu and Saturday Edi.
Justice Nwite granted the request of the IGP to declare the defendants wanted and upon their arrest and investigation, bring them before the court for trial.
The IGP had two weeks ago put five Port Harcourt-based person’s on trial on terrorism charges and were remanded at Kuje Prison upon their arraignment.
They were ordered to remain in prison custody till February 2 when their respective bail applications would be determined by another Judge, Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon.
The five defendants 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 Rivers State House of Assembly during the wake of political crisis that rocked Port Harcourt in October last year.
Justice Olajuwon ordered their remand at the Kuje Prison.
Rivers Court Stops Police
The Port Harcourt Division of the Rivers State High Court granted the order stopping the police from arresting Ehie following a motion ex-parte filed by the Chief of Staff who had sought to stop the police from arresting him over his alleged involvement in the burning of the Hallowed Chambers of the Rivers State House of Assembly last year.
Presiding Judge, Sika Aprioku granted the order before adjourning the matter to the 6th of February for hearing of the substantive application.
At the height of the political crisis in the state, the Martin Amaewhule-led group had petitioned the police demanding that Ehie be arrested, investigated, and prosecuted over allegations of his involvement in the suspected arson at the House of Assembly Complex.