From Abuja, where Barrister Nyesom Wike holds sway as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital where Governor Siminalaye Fubara is Chief Executive Officer, the judiciary appears to be a player in the political battle of supremacy between both strongmen.
Shortly after a high court ordered the arrest of the Chief of Staff to Fubara, Mr. Edison Ehie, it emerged that another court of co-ordinate jurisdiction in Port Harcourt granted an ex-parte order restraining the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies from arresting, detaining, and or harassing the governor’s aide.
The Port Harcourt order followed a motion ex-parte filed by the Chief of Staff to the Governor which 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.
Recall that while the battle between Wike and successor was at its high point in the public domain, the group of lawmakers led by Speaker Martin Amaewhule 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.
On Wednesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja issued a warrant for the arrest of Ehie and five others over their alleged involvement in the arson.
Those ordered to be arrested along with the former factional Speaker are Jinjiri Bala, Happy Benedict, Progress Joseph, Adokiye Oyagiri and Chibuike Peter also known as Rambo.
Justice Emeka Nwite granted order on 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 Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Simon Lough, the six defendants were said to be at large.
The senior lawyer 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 ex-parte application is marked FHC/ABJ/ CS/12/2024
It will be recalled that 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 the Judge.
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 Mobolaji Olajuwon ordered their remand at the Kuje Prison.