Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Trial rescheduled for pastor arrested for wielding gun during Church service in Nigeria

A magistrate’s court in Abuja, on Tuesday, rescheduled the trial of a pastor of the House on the Rock Refuge Church, Uche Aigbe, who faces charges of illegal possession of firearms.

The court adjourned the case until 2 May due to the absence of a defence lawyer, who had sent in a letter to request permission to be away.

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command had in February arrested Mr Aigbe, after a video clip of him carrying a gun during a Sunday church service went viral on social media platforms.

The images of the pastor showing him welding an AK-47 rifle on the church pulpit caused a stir with many commentators expressing safety concerns about the pastor’s action.

The police subsequently charged the pastor alongside Promise Ukachukwu and Olakunle Ogunleye with criminal conspiracy, illegal possession of prohibited firearms, inciting disturbance and criminal intimidation which they pleaded not guilty to.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that at the resumed trial at the magistrate’s court in Zuba, FCT, Abuja on Tuesday, the magistrate, Abdulaziz Ismail, drew attention to a letter by a defence lawyer, Uche Uzukwu, seeking an adjournment of the trial.

Mr Ismail noted that the adjournment was at the instance of the defence counsel who was absent, citing a matter he had at the election tribunal.

He then adjourned the case until 2 May for hearing.

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

The prosecution counsel, James Idachaba, said the defendants got the firearm from Musa Audu, a police inspector, attached to Wuye Division and posted on guard duty at the church.

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

The prosecution counsel said 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 Section 97, 114 and 397 of the Penal Code. 

Premium Times

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