Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja has declined to dismiss the terrorism offences charges brought against the Chief of Staff to the Rivers State Governor Edison Ehie.
Judge Olajuwon ruled that Ehie, the Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly at the time, lacked the authority to ask for the charges to be dropped.
He upheld the position made by the attorney to Inspector General of Police Simon Lough, stating that until Ehie appears in court to enter a plea in the terrorism allegations, he is not yet competent to make any applications.
Ehie had requested the criminal charges against him and the others be dropped on a number of grounds through his attorney, Oluwole Aladedoye.
He argued that because the alleged offenses were committed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the Federal High Court in Abuja lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
Additionally, he also claimed that he had not been indicted by the police for any offence.
His request was however opposed on the ground that Ehie had not yet appeared before the court to take his plea.
Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA 2015) was invoked by the police attorney.
Justice Olajuwon upheld the Inspector General of Police’s arguments and denied the former Speaker’s appeal in a succinct verdict.
The judge further stated that Ehie is not yet named on the charge as required by law, and the charge sheet just stated that he is at large.
Before the Chief of Staff could be eligible to file any applications, Justice Olajuwon advised him to turn himself in to the police or come in to enter a plea.
Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald, and Ochueja ThankGod are the five defendants included on the charge sheet.
The defendants were charged with seven counts, alleging that they invaded, vandalized, and set fire to the Rivers State House of Assembly during the political unrest that shook Port Harcourt in October of last year, in violation of purported terrorism laws.