Gov Fubara’s Chief of Staff, Ehie to know fate on warrant of arrest April 25

Ehie Edison Fubaras Chief of Staff

A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed April 25 for ruling in an application by the Chief of Staff to Rivers State Governor, Edison Ehie, seeking to set aside an arrest warrant issued against him and five others.

Justice Emeka Nwite fixed the date on Monday after hearing arguments from parties in the suit.

While the counsel for the defendants prayed the court for an order to restrain the plaintiff from carrying out the arrest order, the prosecution prayed the court to dismiss the application.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the police for their alleged involvement in the burning of the Rivers State’s House of Assembly and attempted murder.

They were also arraigned before Justice Bolaji Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja on 7-count charges in a separate suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024

The court had on January 31, granted an arrest warrant request to police following an application from the Inspector General of Police.

Justice Nwite granted the order following an ex-parte filed by the Inspector-General of Police through his counsel, Simon Lough, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN.

Lough had informed the court that the six defendants were at large and needed to be arrested to defend charges against them.

He said the charges included alleged terrorism, attempted murder, and murder of a Superintendent of Police, SP Bako Agbashim, and five police informants.

At today’s proceedings, Counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana, SAN and Mr Oluwole Aladedoye, SAN, filed separate motions asking the court to set aside the arrest warrant as well as to restrain the police from carrying out the order pending the determination of the case.

Counsel to the Chief of Staff, Oluwole Aladedoye, SAN, told the court that the police never invited Ehie for questioning.

He said, “ They got an order to arrest someone they never invited and to declare someone who was never invited, wanted.”

He also raised the issue of jurisdiction, stating that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the matter as the incident happened in Rivers.

He noted that the police are supposed to file at the judicial division where the alleged offence was committed.

Similarly, Falana who stood for the 2nd to 6th defendants submitted that the law stipulates that an offence shall be tried where it was committed.

He noted that without a valid and pending charge, a warrant of arrest cannot be issued. He urged the court to set aside the ex-parte order made on January 31.

The prosecution counsel, however, prayed the court to dismiss the application for a stay of execution of the January 31 order.

He argued that the application was not made in consideration of the rules of the court.

He submitted that by virtue of section 47 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, a warrant can be issued by a federal high court sitting anywhere in Nigeria for execution in any part of Nigeria.

He noted that no law states that a charge must be filed before an arrest warrant can be issued.

After listening to submissions from parties in the suit, Justice Emeka Nwite adjourned till April 25 to rule on the motion for a stay of execution.