Lawyer’s absence stalls prosecution of gun-wielding pastor

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The litigation of the gun-wielding pastor of the House on the Rock Refuge Church, Wuye, Abuja, Uche Aigbe was halted on Tuesday in Abuja due to the absence of his attorney in Court.

The police had charged Uche Aigbe, and two others, Promise Ukachukwu and Olakunle Ogunleye, with criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of a prohibited firearm, inciting disturbance and criminal intimidation which they pleaded not guilty to.

The counsel to the accused, Uche Uzukwu was not in court due to what he claimed was another engagement before an election petition tribunal.

At the resumed trial, Magistrate Abdulaziz Ismail drew the attention of the court to a letter by Uzukwu seeking adjournment of the trial at his instance.

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Magistrate Ismail noted that the adjournment was at the instance of the defence counsel whom he said, was absent from court due to a matter he had at an election tribunal.

He adjourned the matter in the interest of justice until May 2 for the continuation of trial in the criminal charges.

Specifically, the Police alleged that the defendants, all of House on the Rock Refuge Church, Wuye, Abuja, conspired with illegal possession of an AK-47 rifle on February 12, 2023.

The prosecution counsel, Assistant Commissioner of Police James Idachaba, had informed the court that the defendants got the firearm from Inspector Musa Audu, attached to Wuye Division and posted on guard duty at the said church.

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He added that the defendants used the firearm for an illustration while preaching a sermon about faith in the church.

The prosecution counsel alleged that the defendants made inciting and intimidating statements to the church congregation that could cause alarm and breach of peace.

The offence, he said, is punishable under Section III of the Firearms Act CAP F28, LFN 2004 and contravened sections 97, 114 and 397 of the Penal Code.

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