A FEDERAL High Court (FHC), Abuja, has declined to dismiss an application filed by Edison Ehie, seeking to strike out criminal charges against him and others.
The Judge, Mobolaji Olajuwon, on Friday, February 2, declined to remove the charges as requested by Ehie, a former factional speaker of the State’s House of Assembly and the current Chief of Staff (COS) to Fubara.
The charges were brought against Ehie and five loyalists of the Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, by the police.
The court determined that asking for the charges to be dropped was illegal.
Olajuwon supported the Inspector General of Police’s (IGP) counsel, Simon Lough, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who submitted that Ehie was ineligible to file any applications until he appeared in court to enter a plea to the terrorism allegations.
Ehie had requested the criminal charges against him and the others be withdrawn on several grounds through his attorney, Oluwole Aladedoye (SAN).
He claimed that because the alleged crimes were carried out in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, the FHC in Abuja lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.
He also said he had not received a police indictment for any crimes.
Olajuwon rejected the former Speaker’s appeal and upheld the IGP’s argument in his verdict.
According to the judge, the charge sheet just said that Ehie is at large and has not yet been officially charged, as the law requires.
He advised Ehie to report to the police or appear in court to enter a plea before he could be eligible..
The defendants were charged with seven counts of terrorism after they allegedly invaded, vandalised, and set fire to the Rivers State House of Assembly following the political unrest that shook Port Harcourt in October 2023.
Ehie was recently appointed as Chief of Staff (CoS) to Fubara after he resigned as a member and factional Speaker of the Rivers Assembly.
The ICIR reported that on Thursday, January 25, a court in Abuja remanded some loyalists of Fubara over the vandalisation of the State House of Assembly complex.
Five supporters of the governor were charged before Olajuwon of the FHC.
They were accused of being involved in the October explosion that destroyed the Assembly building.
The ICIR reported that Fubara claimed police and military officers shot at him on his way to the state House of Assembly in the early hours of Monday, October 30.
Fubara made the claim amid the suspension of the then Majority Leader of the Assembly, Ehie, over allegations that he supervised the burning of the Assembly Complex.
Fire engulfed the complex on Sunday, October 29, around 10 p.m.
It was subsequently quenched by the Fire Service and security agents, who prevented it from consuming the entire building.
The crises follow reports of the House’s impending impeachment of the governor.