A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, rejected the bail applications filed by five suspects arrested in connection with the burning of the Rivers House of Assembly on Dec. 29, 2023.
Justice Bolaji Olajuwon, in a ruling, refused to grant them bail on the ground that the defendants did not provide special circumstances to warrant their respective release from remand at the Kuje Correctional Centre.
Justice Olajuwon held that the defendants, who were charged with capital offence that bothered on terrorism, required extra circumstances’ evidence which they failed to supply before the court.
The five defendants are Chime Eguma Ezebalike, Prince Lukman Oladele, Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Osiga Donald and Ochueja Thankgod.
Delivering ruling on the bail applications, Olajuwon said the defendants, especially Chime Ezebalike and Prince Oladele, failed to give cogent and verifiable evidence to back up their request for application.
The judge held that in their affidavits in support of the application deposed to by Mariam Alawiye, an office assistant, claimed to have obtained information and exhibits on the defendants from some persons, but refused to share the identities of the persons with the court.
Olajuwon said to worsen the situation, the deponent did also not make any documents or exhibits available to the court to support all her assertions in the affidavit evidence.
The judge explained that an affidavit evidence must supply names of those who volunteered information about defendants in a criminal charge as stipulated by Section 115 of the Evidence Act.
She held that rather than containing facts as required by law, the affidavit contained extraneous issues that were not relevant to persuade any court to grant bail.
She also disagreed with an assertions by the deponent that the defendants would not jump bail, commit any other offence or interfere with witness and investigation, adding that the claims were vague and hearsay because the deponent did not establish or produce any evidence.
The judge added that the offences with which the defendants were charged with, were not ordinarily bailable.
In the application of Kenneth Goodluck Kpasa, Justice Olajuwon said that the claim of his 10 years of chronic hypertension and high blood pressure was not supported with any medical documents.
Besides, the judge held that the counter claim by the Inspector-General (I-G) of Police that the sickness could be managed by medical personnel of the prison was not disputed
Justice Olajuwon, therefore, ordered them to remain in the correctional centre pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
Olajuwon, who granted accelerated hearing in the matter, fixed Feb. 8 for commencement of trial.
Five defendants were, on Jan. 25, arraigned on seven-count bordering on terrorism charges.
They were alleged to have invaded, vandalised and burnt down Rivers assembly on Dec. 29, 2023 in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/25/2024 preferred against them by the I-G.(NAN)