Fubara's Chief of Staff, Edison Ehie, battles murder, arson charges

Edison Ehie

…Court orders arrest of Ehie for murder, arson

By Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

A Rivers State High Court and Federal High Court in Abuja gave contradictory orders on Wednesday as the Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor, Edison Ehie battled to stop his prosecution for arson and murder.

The Rivers House of Assembly was burnt and bombed on 29 October 2023.
The burning of the complex was followed by factionalisation of the Assembly with one faction led by Edison Ehie and the other faction led by Martin Amaewhule. While the Ehie faction was loyal to Governor Siminalayi Fubara, the other faction was loyal to former Governor Nyesom Wike.

The burning of the Complex was believed to be part of the plot to stop the impeachment of Governor Fubara by the Amaewhule faction.

The Martin Amaewhule-led lawmakers had petitioned the Police demanding that Ehie who was recently appointed Chief of Staff by Governor Fubara should be arrested, investigated, and prosecuted for allegedly plotting arson at the House of Assembly Complex.

In line with the request, the Inspector General of Police had two weeks ago arraigned five suspects before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on seven count charges of alleged terrorism by invading, vandalizing and burning down Rivers State House of Assembly on 29 October 2023.

The five defendants: Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod who were all based in Port Harcourt were remanded at Kuje Prison upon their arraignment till February 2 when their respective bail applications would be determined by Justice Mobolaji Olajuwon.

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However, the Inspector General of Police, in another ex-parte application argued by a Deputy Commissioner of Police, Simon Lough, on Wednesday asked the court for an order to arrest Ehie and five others – Jinjiri Bala, Happy Benedict, Progress Joseph, Adokiye Oyagiri and Chibuike Peter also known as Rambo over alleged involvement in conspiracy, arson, terrorism, attempted murder and murder of a Superintendent of Police SP Bako Agbashim and five other police informants.

The DCP who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, submitted that the defendants are at large. He predicated the request 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.

Ehie and the other defendants were alleged to have killed Charles Osu, Ogbonna Eja, Idaowuka Felix, Paul Victor Chibuogu and Saturday Edi who were described as police informants.

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.

However, the former Speaker ran to Rivers State High Court where he filed a motion ex-parte to restrain the Police or other security agencies from arresting him over his alleged involvement in the invasion and burning of the Rivers State House of Assembly on October 29, 2023

While ruling on the ex-parte motion, Justice S. H Aprioku barred the Police and other security agencies from arresting, detaining, and harassing the newly sworn-in Chief of Staff to the State Government House, Edison Ehie.

The Presiding Judge, Justice Sika Aprioku granted the order before adjourning the matter to the 6th of February for hearing of the substantive application.

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