House on the Rock Pastor Seeks Judicial Review of AK-47 Sermon Trial

The Presiding Pastor of the House on the Rock in Abuja, Uche Aigbe, who was arraigned before an FCT Magistrates Court for bearing an AK-47 rifle during a church service, has taken legal action by approaching the Federal Capital Territory High Court to seek a judicial review of his trial.

Aigbe, along with co-defendants Olakunle Ogunleye and Promise Ukachukwu, faced charges related to possession of a prohibited firearm (AK-47 rifle), inciting disturbance, and abetting illegal possession of a firearm. Their arraignment before Senior Magistrate Mohammed Ismail at Zuba, Abuja, stemmed from an incident during a Sunday church service in February 2023, where Aigbe used the AK-47 rifle as a prop to illustrate his sermon titled “Guarding your faith.”

In the motion on notice filed at the FCT High Court marked M/13706/2023, the defendants’ counsel, P.H. Ogbole, SAN, alleged violations of their fundamental rights to a fair hearing during the proceedings at the lower court. He specifically pointed out instances where he claimed the magistrate’s actions were wrongful and a misapplication of the law.

The motion sought a declaration that certain proceedings at the Magistrate’s Court, including the admission of a compact disc as an exhibit without viewing its content in open court, were wrongful and violated the defendants’ rights to fair hearing.

Citing relevant legal provisions, including the 1999 Constitution and the FCT High Court Act, the lawyer argued for the court to grant their prayers and review the proceedings.

In response, counsel for the commissioner of police, Inah Umoh, urged the court to dismiss the application and allow the lower court to continue with the matter. He emphasized that the trial court had not exceeded its jurisdiction, as the law permitted the court to try such offences summarily.

After hearing the submissions from both parties, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi scheduled May 15 for ruling on the application, indicating a pivotal moment in the ongoing legal battle surrounding the controversial AK-47 sermon incident.

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