Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja has discharged and acquitted a former Chief of Air Staff, Mohammed Umar, guilty of diverting N66 million from the account of the Nigerian Air Force.
The retired Air chief marshal battled one count of money laundering involving N66 million allegedly cornered from the account of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) during his time as the Chief of Air staff between 2010 and 2012.
Delivering judgement on the judge held that there was nothing in the evidence of the prosecution linking Mr Umar to instructing the transfer of the said funds for the renovation of his private property in Abuja.
Mr Dimgba said it would be dangerous to speculate on a wild assumption that Mr Umar must be aware of every financial transaction from the Nigeria Air Force bank account.
Ruling on the propriety of the evidence led by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in February 2021, the judge dismissed six out of the seven charges initially lodged against Mr Umar by the anti-graft agency.
However, the judge ordered the former Air chief to refund the sum of N57 million to the Nigeria Air Force within seven working days.
The said funds was the actual amount used in refurbishing Mr Umar’s private property at Asokoro area of Abuja.
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; and other political appointees believed to interested in elective offices will not be able to participate in the All Progressives Congress primaries expected to begin in May unless they resign.
This is the state of things following the rejection of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill by the Senate on Wednesday.
However, elected officers including governors, deputy governors, the Vice-President and members of the National Assembly and the state legislature will be allowed to contest and participate in the primaries.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, while signing the bill into law last month, called on the National Assembly to amend Section 84 of the Electoral Act which bars political appointees from voting at any convention, congress or primary of any political party. He subsequently sent a bill to the National Assembly to that effect.
Section 84(10) of the Act specifically reads, “No political appointee at any level shall be a voting delegate or be voted for at the convention or congress of any political party for the purpose of the nomination of candidates for any election.”
It further states that where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.
Buhari had subsequently asked the National Assembly to amend the bill, arguing that it was at variance with the constitution.
But the Senate, on Wednesday, unanimously rejected the President’s amendment proposal.
The executive bill failed to pass when President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, put the motion for its adoption for second reading to a voice vote.
After the Majority Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi, moved the motion for the bill to be read a second time, Senator Adamu Aliero had urged the Senate to step down amendment of the Electoral Act.
Raising a point of order, Aliero made reference to the provision of Rule 52(5) of the Standing Orders of the Senate.
Order 52(5) provides that, ‘Reference shall not be made to any matter on which a judicial decision is pending, in such a way as might in the opinion of the President of the Senate prejudice the interest of parties thereto.’
Aliero, therefore, advised the Senate to step down consideration of the bill pending the vacation of the ruling by a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.
The senator pointed out that going ahead with the process would be sub judice.
Lawan, while ruling on Aliero’s point of order, insisted that the move by the Senate to amend the Act was to exercise the constitutional duties of the legislature.
After Abdullahi led the debate on the bill, the Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe opposed the proposed deletion of Section 84(12) of the Act.
Abaribe said, “There are certain things that we see which we think we don’t even have to come here to debate. One of those things is the fact that in every democracy, all over the world, there are certain rules which we don’t need to be told about. One of those rules is the fact that you cannot be a referee and a player on the same field. It is either you’re a referee or a player.”
Also, Senator Smart Adeyemi opposed consideration of the bill saying, “Indeed, it is a settled matter in law that you cannot be a judge over you own case.”
Adeyemi added, “In any election, where people have the added advantage of holding executive power, either by proxy or directly or by appointment, for such people to have access and compete with others who came from the street, I think is an unjust society.
“Therefore, I disagree with all the arguments on the need to consider a decision that has already been settled.”
Efforts by the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, to sway the opinion of the lawmakers were unsuccessful as the senators voted overwhelmingly against the bill.
The development swiftly became a trending topic on social media as many Nigerians described it as “the beginning of the end” of Malami’s political ambition.
Attempts to get a response from the AGF’s Office proved abortive as his Media Adviser, Umar Gwandu, did not respond to an inquiry.
The National Assembly has been divided over the ruling by a Federal High Court, Abuja, stopping Buhari; Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation and the parliament from tampering with the Electoral Act 2022.
The Senate had insisted on going ahead to consider the request by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who asked the federal parliament to delete Section 84(14) of the new electoral law but the House of Representatives said it would obey the court.
The Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Kalu, while addressing journalists on Tuesday, argued that the chamber would obey the Rule of Law principle.
The Nigerian Government has again filed amended charges against the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The amended 15-count charge bordering on acts of terrorism was filed on Friday last week at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Channels Television got a copy of the charge sheet on Monday. It was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, MB Abubakar, on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Count One of the charge read, “That you Nnamdi Kanu, Male, Adult, of Afatanukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State sometimes in 2021 being a member and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a proscribed Organisation, did commit an act in furtherance of an act of Terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the People of Nigeria by making a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to intimidate the population and you threatened that people will die, the whole world will stand still and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.”
“That you Nnamdi Kanu, Male, Adult, of Afatanukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State on diverse dates between the month of March and April 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which you declared as used household items, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act, Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,” another count read.
In October last year, the government had filed an amended seven-count against the detained IPOB leader, charges which bordered on treasonable felony and his alleged involvement in acts of terrorism at the same court.
Justice Binta Nyako, who was to preside over the case, later fixed Tuesday (January 18), to hear some pending applications, including the one Kanu filed to be discharged and acquitted.
Barely a day to the scheduled commencement of the accelerated hearing, the government, in the amended process it filed before the court, increased the counts in the previous charge it preferred against the detained IPOB leader.
Kanu initially faces a seven-count treasonable felony charge will now enter his fresh plea to a 15-count amended charge.
He was first arrested in 2015 on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods, among others
The IPOB leader, who was initially detained and arraigned in court, fled the country in 2017 after he was granted bail for medical reasons. Although he was later sighted in Israel, he was intercepted in June 2021 and repatriated to Nigeria – about four years since he jumped bail.
Amid the calls for his release by some prominent individuals and groups in the South East, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted a group of leaders from the region under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats.
At the meeting held in November last year, the President promised to consider the request for Kanu’s release, although he said it was “an extremely difficult demand”.
The group had pleaded for a political, rather than military solution to the crisis in the region and promised to call Kanu and order agitators in the South East to order.
Barely two months after the meeting, President Buhari, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, stated that the IPOB leader should answer for his actions over the years, especially while he was out of the country.
Embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu is scheduled for an emergency hearing in court on Thursday, December 2.
This was confirmed to SaharaReporters by the counsel for the Nigerian government in the matter.
Kanu is facing an amended 7-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and acts of terrorism. He has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since his re-arrest in June.
It was gathered that the hearing could lead to Kanu being released on bail. According to SaharaReporters, the Federal Government lawyers hinted that the move is in response to the fervent appeals by Igbo leaders for the release of the pro-Biafra agitator.
“Nnamdi Kanu scheduled for an emergency hearing tomorrow that could lead to his release on bail.
“This is in response to Igbo elders’ request for his release,” one of the sources said on Wednesday. It will be recalled that a delegation of Igbo leaders led by former Minister of Aviation, Mbazulike Amaechi, had requested the unconditional release of Kanu when they met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on November 19, 2021.
Buhari had said that he would consider the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, adding that such a request was a difficult option to weigh but assured that he would give it a thought.
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has struck a case filed against a 29-year-old pharmacist, Solomon Akuma, who tweeted that he would “pay a Russian sniper to kill Buhari and his former Chief of Staff, the late Abba Kyari”.
The trial judge, Folashade Giwa- Ogunbanjo while ruling on the matter on Monday struck out the case on the ground that it was defective.
The judge said there was no valid charge before the court and that the matter was not diligently prosecuted.
She said the case file would be returned to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the office of Attorney General of Federation for further action.
The judge added that the judgement does not give protection to the defendant from future investigation.
The defence counsel, Emmanuel Ukaegbu prayed the court to discharge the defendant who was in a correctional centre.
Ukaegbu said his client should be released since the matter has been struck out.
The judge, therefore, asked the defence counsel to make a formal application to that effect.
Akuma was abducted and had been detained at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), Abuja, for over 11 months.
Activists, lawyers and civil society groups have condemned Akuma’s continued detention and called for his release, saying he did not commit any crime to warrant such a punishment.
Akuma’s tweets were in response to a Twitter post asking respondents what their next move would be if they got $1 million.
Akuma’s father, Emmanuel Akuma was deceived by the police in order to get his son arrested.
The father said he had received a call from a person ”who disguised to be a person seeking to reward him for praying for him in the past.”
“It was me they used as bait to get to my son. They used me as their link. Someone must have dug up my profile and they found out that I was a pastor,” he said.
The cleric added, “Someone called me that I had prayed for him at a place. He said he wanted to honour me and that he and others would be coming on a particular date.
“They also said that they would visit me and give me an honorarium. I said I was not really aware of what they were talking about.
“They said I should not bother that they knew me as a pastor. I said, okay, no problem. They said I had once ministered in their church.
“I was not around at the time because I went for burial in my hometown. So I lodged in my in-law’s place.
“I said no problem, but something ministered to me that those guys were not what they said they were and as it turned out to be, they were policemen.”
He said he reluctantly agreed to meet with them and took them to his in-law’s place, where they “arrested everybody and collected all our phones at gunpoint, and marched us into a red jeep they parked outside.”
He said the policemen later used his phone number to call his son “telling him that his father lost the phone”.
“In fact, because of all the weapons they had I couldn’t react because I could not ascertain who they were,” he said.
The cleric said when his son arrived at the scene, the men immediately arrested him.
“So, at that point, they gave us back our phones, and they took him to the police station, down to Umuahia, to Enugu and the next day, they went to Abuja,” he said.
The Presidency on Sunday said nobody should applaud Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for erecting buildings for the judiciary in the state.
Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs who stated this in an interview on Channels Television monitored by Airviews News said Governor Wike has been treating the judges in the state badly by failing to grant them judicial autonomy.
Recall that Wike had last month said that that the Rivers State Government will not enact a bill for financial autonomy of the Judiciary.
According to him, it will be futile to bother the State Assembly with such a bill since the 1999 constitution as amended already recognizes the independence of the judiciary.
Enang in his assertion said that Governor Wike needs to be told the truth that he has not been treating judges in his state fairly by illegally withholding what rightfully belongs to them.
He said, “Let me just use this opportunity to draw attention to the fact that we have been clapping for Rivers state government for doing well for the judiciary”.
“We thank His Excellency Governor Wike for what he has done for the federal high court, for what he has done for the Nigerian Law School, for anything he has done for any other federal arm of government but Rivers state has done very badly in terms of treatment of the judiciary of Rivers state”.
“It is not that you have to build the courts for the judiciary, it is not that you have to do anything for the judiciary. it is that the governor of Rivers state and other states should release the money of the judiciary to the judiciary; to be used by the judiciary on the judiciary and to be accounted for by the judiciary”.
“Nobody should clap for Governor Wike, we should tell him the truth. He keeps saying ‘my money if you touch my money’. The money does not belong to the governor of a state”.
President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the judiciary to devise and deploy stringent measures against lawyers, who in the cause of servicing their clients employ all kinds of delay tactics thereby hindering the speedy dispensation of justice in the country.
President Buhari predicated the call on the need to make the justice sector more efficient and effective as to preserve the nation’s democracy as well as attract foreign investment.
He said this yesterday, while declaring open the 2021 All Nigeria Judges’ Conference of the Superior Courts.
Buhari, who was represented by the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo at the event, expressed concern over the impact of delays in the administration of the justice system as well as the image of the judiciary and by extension the country.
“As my lords are aware, delay in the dispensation of justice, coupled with the increase of cases in our courts have remained subjects of great concern. As someone said, our problem is not access to justice, it is exiting the justice system. “And I know that delays are not necessarily the fault of judges, lawyers are also responsible. Should we not then as have been suggested by some, evolve a cost award system that recognizes the court as a finite and expensive public resource and as such delays and other dielectric tactics are visited with deterrent cost”, he suggested.
According to him, Nigeria remains part of the global market place for investment and legal services, and the extent to which the country can attract business depends in part on investors perception of the quality of the justice delivery system. He said: “if we are seen as inefficient and ineffective, we would loss out to more efficient systems”.
Osinbajo however, warned that judges must endeavour to show the highest level of integrity, responsibility, professionalism for the singular fact that they make decisions over the lives and livelihood of men and women in the society, adding that they must not allow a few to undermine the respect and trust that the judiciary have built up in over a century of its existence. While stating that the current administration is not unaware of the number of challenges slowing the pace of transformation in the administration of the justice system, he disclosed that the administration has been working towards the resolution of these challenges by putting in place some measures such as the development of strategic infrastructure that will provide ease in case management; enhancement of welfare packages of judicial officers, amongst others.
While stating that the judiciary remains the last hope of the common man he said that “a trusted, well resourced, well-functioning judiciary is therefore essential to the entrenchment of rule of law” adding that for the judiciary to function optimally and retain greater public confidence it “must be independent from all forms of interference”. He assured that the administration will continue to partner with the judiciary in ensuring that it is financially independent.
He appreciated the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) Justice Ibrahim Muhammad for the proactive measures taken in tackling the menace of conflicting court orders by courts of coordinate jurisdiction and efforts at revolutionizing the process of selection and appointment of judges
The CJN in his remarks continued to lament the lack of financial independence of the judiciary noting that, “it may be difficult for the judiciary to be impartial and objective in a democracy where it remains financially tied to the Executive”. According to him, the issue of judiciary funding has continued to pose serious challenge to the institution.
“I hereby report on a sad note that very few states have implemented the Agreement entered into in June.
“While the Constitution specifically mandates that all monies due to the judiciary should be given to the Heads of Courts, such provisions are complied with more in breach than obedience.
“Majority of the Heads of Courts still go caps in hands to the Governors to beg for what is constitutionally due to them, he stated.
As such, I urge the State Governors to emulate the Federal Government by ensuring that Section 121 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) is fully adhered to and implemented.
Muhammad, who scored the judiciary very high in the discharge of its function argued that but for the intervention of the judiciary Nigeria’s democracy would have been truncated.
“I make bold to state further that, but for the timely intervention of the Nigerian Judiciary, our present democratic status would have probably collapsed and fallen like a pack of ill-arranged cards”, the CJN stated. He however admonished judges to desist from all negative conducts including indiscriminate granting of ex-parte orders that have portrayed the judiciary in bad light.
Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), has refuted a confessional statement of a suspect arrested in connection with the raid on the home of Mary Odili, a justice of the supreme court.
The police, on Thursday, paraded 14 persons in connection with the invasion.
Frank Mba, force public relations officer, said the suspects include a fake chief superintendent of police (CSP), a journalist, and an Islamic scholar.
Mba said 10 other suspects, including two military personnel, are currently at large.
In a statement by Umar Gwandu, Malami’s spokesman, one of the suspects alleged that he was contracted by the AGF.
However, Malami described the confessional statement as “an orchestrated attempt to stir unnecessary controversies and public apprehension”.
“With all the competent, high level professionals and capable human resources available at the disposal of the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, it only takes the imagination of the evil minds to assume or think that the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice will descend so low to engaging a quack or fake police officer to serve as his consultant,” the statement reads.
“This is a case of a drowning man scavenging for a dying partner. We are happy to note that investigation has commenced to unravel the circumstances and personalities behind the invasion and sponsored campaign of calumny against the honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice.”
While challenging the suspect to present evidence, Malami said the investigation will reveal “those dragging his personality, his name and his exalted office in the dirty politics of disrepute”.
“We asked the suspect to present documents of engagements where he worked as a consultant to the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, whether in past or now,” he said.
“Consultant for what? Which activity or assignment? When was he engaged? What were the terms of references for the alleged consultancy service? When was he engaged? Where was he engaged? Which worked has he executed for the honourable attorney-general of the federation and the ministry of justice? For what duration? And for how much?
“We boldly and unequivocally challenge the fake consultant/police officer to come out with answers or responses to these questions to the general public.
“The honourable attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice superintends over and respects the rule of law and will not do anything to undermine the sanctity of his office and that entire judiciary and justice sector.”
On October 30, security operatives — made up of soldiers and police officers — stormed the Abuja residence of the supreme court justice over an allegation that illegal activities were going on there.
The search warrant was granted to one Lawrence Ajodo — identified as a chief superintendent of police — who is now said to be an impostor.
Documents seen by our correspondent had revealed that the warrant presented by security operatives to search Odili’s residence bore a wrong address.
Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer accused the trial judge of bias for conducting proceedings after their walk-out.
The legal team of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, walked out on Binta Nyako, the judge of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court handling the separatist’s trial.
Members of the defence team, led by Ifeanyi Ejiofor, were earlier seated in court but walked out just before the arrival of the judge about 10 a.m.
Their action was in protest against the refusal of the operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) to allow Bruce Fein, an American lawyer working with the team into the courtroom.
But they later accused the judge of bias for conducting proceedings in their absence.
Wednesday’s proceedings abruptly ended due to the lawyers’ walk-out, with the judge adjourning till January 19, 2022.
Mr Kanu, who is being prosecuted on a seven-count charge bordering on terrorism, had before Wednesday’s proceedings, engaged the spy police agents in a shouting-match inside the courtroom when he observed the absence of his legal team.
As proceedings resumed after the judge entered the courtroom, Mohammed Abubakar, announced an appearance for the prosecution.
However, the defence team, led by Mr Ejiofor was nowhere to be found, prompting the judge to ask Mr Kanu of his lawyers’ whereabouts.
In his response, Mr Kanu said his lawyers were protesting the denial of access to Mr Fein, the IPOB lawyer in the United States, who was on the Federal High Court premises to observe the day’s session.
Prosecution asks court to dismiss Mr Kanu’s pending applications
As a result of the development, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr Abubakar, urged the court to dismiss all the pending applications that were filed by Mr Kanu’s legal team.
“Having decided to stage a walk-out on the court, I urge my lord to dismiss the defendant’s pending applications,” Mr Abubakar who is the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation prayed the judge.
But the judge, who was visibly unhappy about the walk-out, declined the prosecution’s oral application calling for the dismissal of Mr Kanu’s pending requests.
“Staging a walk-out on the court is a very serious offence,” Mrs Nyako said.
“I will not dismiss the applications; let it be in the case file. But discuss with your lawyers so that their attitude can change,” the judge advised Mr Kanu.
Mrs Nyako noted that individuals seeking to attend Mr Kanu’s trial must write her court for consideration.
A diplomat from theBritish High Commission, who was in the courtroom to watch proceedings, said she had written the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, seeking his consent to attend Wednesday’s sitting, a procedure Mrs Nyako said was wrong.
“If you need to observe proceedings in my court, you must apply to me. But for the high respect I have for my Chief Judge, I will allow you for today,” the judge told the British diplomat.
Thereafter, the judge adjourned the suit till January 19 and 20, 2022 for trial.
The suit had earlier been fixed for Wednesday for the hearing of the defendant’s preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to conduct a hearing on the seven-count amended charge, which Mr Ejiofor described as “frivolous.”
‘Judge now part of the prosecution team’
Shortly after the judge adjourned proceedings in the suit, Mr Ejiofor flanked by Aloy Ejimakor and Bruce Fein, told journalists that Mrs Nyako had taken sides with the Nigerian government by conducting proceedings in their absence.
“It is now clear that the honourable trial judge (Mrs Nyako) part of the prosecuting team. She will have to recuse herself,” Mr Ejiofor said.
Similarly, Mr Ejimakor described the development as “strange” wondering why the judge sat on the matter behind their back.
It will be recalled that the SSS barred journalists and lawyers from the court on October 21, when the trial last held.
Mr Kanu is being tried on charges of treasonable felony regarding his separatist activities. The trial was scheduled to resume before Mrs Nyako, for arguments on an application challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.
The separatist, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September that year, a situation one of Mr Kanu’s lawyers, Alloy Ejimakor, described as the “rule of self-preservation.”
Mrs Nyako subsequently revoked his bail for ditching his trial, and ordered his trial to be separated from the rest of the co-defendants’.
While the trial of the rest of the defendants has made some progress, Mr Kanu’s has been stalled since 2017.
On June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that Mr Kanu had been rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue facing his trial.
He said the IPOB leader was “intercepted” days earlier but did not give details.
Although there has been no official disclosure about where and how Mr Kanu was arrested, relatives and lawyers to the IPOB leader, have described how he was “kidnapped” in Kenya under controversial circumstances.
There won’t be fair trail – Ohaneze Ndigbo
The Ohaneze Ndigbo had said there will not be fair trial of Mr Kanu.
Ralph Uwazurike, a lawyer, who was detailed to watch brief on behalf of Ohaneze, restated his earlier concerns on Wednesday pertaining to the attitude of the Nigerian security operatives at the court premises.
“It is now clear that Nnamdi Kanu will not get fair trial,” Mr Uwazurike told journalists on Thursday at the court premises.
The atmosphere at the court was tense.
Chukwuemeka Ezeife, former governor of Anambra State and representative of Ohaneze Ndigbo were barred from accessing the court on Wednesday.
The defense team in the alleged sexual assault trial of Nollywood actor, Olanrewaju James Omiyinka a.k.a. Baba Ijesha has challenged a confessional statement purportedly written by a police officer for the defendant upon his arrest in April this year.
Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Babatunde Ogala made the assertion on Friday, before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Sexual Offences Court in Ikeja.
Baba Ijesha is facing a six-count charge bordering on allegations of indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.
He has pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge.
During the evidence of the prosecution’s fifth witness, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Kazeem Wahab said he took over the case from a previous team of one ASP Nuruddeen Musa and Inspector Blessing Nwoko after the complainant, comedienne, Damilola Adekoya, aka Princess, had alleged that the defendant had a close relationship with them.
The police witness who is from the State Criminal Investigative Department, Yaba also said the case file was transferred from the Sabo Police Station where the complaint was initially made.
He sought to tender the statements of Princess who is the foster mother of the minor, as well as that of the victim and the defendant.
But, Mr Ogala objected to the admissibility of one of Baba Ijesha’s police statements, noting it was made under duress, after he had allegedly been beaten up and humiliated by Princess and her cohorts.
The defense counsel also noted that a police officer wrote the statement but that it had no name or signature on it.
“The statement is confessional because the defendant is said to have claimed he molested and harassed Princess’s daughter. The name and date are ostensibly omitted on the statement, so no one takes responsibility, and so that it will be attributed to the defendant.”
The State prosecutor, Yusuf Sule then withdrew the statement, and the court admitted as exhibits, the other two statements written by the defendant.
The witness also told the court that he investigated allegations that the defendant sexually molested another minor in Ada, Ikorodu, who had been presented to the police by Princess. At this, Mr Ogala referred to the complainant as, “chief investigator”.
“We went there with a brother of the defendant, as he was already in detention and we didn’t want to risk taking him along as he could be hijacked from us. The landlord confirmed that Baba Ijesha lives there, contrary to his denial.”
The witness also revealed during cross examination that the landlord didn’t write his statement on the matter at the police station but around his residence.
Further hearing was adjourned till Friday, November 12, for the prosecution to present more witnesses.