Evans’ Trial: Court Adjourns As Co-Defendant Alleges Failed Surgery

'Provide A Counsel', Judge Tells Evans As Lawyer Fails To Appear

 

The trial of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans took an interesting turn on Thursday as one of his co-defendants, Linus Okpara told a Lagos High Court sitting in the Igbosere area that he had a failed surgery.

Okpara who is standing trial alongside the suspected billionaire kidnapper is the third of four defendants in an attempted murder case filed against Evans and the others by the Lagos State Government before Justice Adedayo Akintoye.

The defendant who is on remand at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison, Lagos, alongside the others claimed that a surgery he underwent while in prison custody had failed.

READ ALSO: ‘Provide A Counsel’, Judge Tells Evans As Lawyer Fails To Appear Again

At the last adjourned date on Thursday, the 16th of May, Okpara’s new counsel, Mr CJ Jiakponna, told the court that his client had a pending bail application because of an unresolved health challenge.

The judge adjourned till Thursday, May 23 for Jiakponna to argue the bail application after he would have served the prosecution counsel, Mr Y. G. Oshoala.

When the case came up on Thursday, Jiakponna did not move the bail application. Rather he moved another application seeking an order compelling the Medical Director of the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison to issue a medical report on Okpara’s state of health.

“The applicant had a failed operation which might require treatment at an outside hospital. If, at the end of the day, the medical report says he can be managed in the prison, we will not be able to move his (bail) application.

“We urge your lordship to grant this application. The law places a high premium on a human’s life.”

The prosecution did not oppose the application.

“In the interest of justice, we will not be opposing the application,” Oshoala said.

In her ruling on the issue, Justice Akintoye granted his request.

“In the absence of any objection to the motion filed on behalf of third defendant Okpara Linus, the Medical Director is hereby ordered to issue a medical report to the court within the next seven days,” she said.

The case has been adjourned to June 27.

Nigerian Prisons Commit To Strengthening Security In Facilities

Nigerian PrisonsThe Nigerian Prisons Service has said it is committed to strengthening its programmes on security measures in order to fulfill its reformatory role to inmates.

The Controller of Prisons in Lagos, Mr Tinuoye Olumide, said this during his visit to the female prisons in Kirikiri, southwest Nigeria.

Speaking on Monday in the course of his familiarisation tour, Mr Olumide also reacted to the issues of security breaches in the prisons.

He assured that none of those found culpable of aiding and abetting such criminality would be spared.

The visit is sequel to the Kuje jail break in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory where two inmates of the prison were said to have escaped in June.

In its reaction, the House of Representatives called for the installation of closed circuit cameras at strategic areas in Nigerian prisons.

The lawmakers also stressed the need to urgently recruit more personnel into the Service in order to enhance security.

Alleged $8.3million Fraud: Ajudua Files Objection, Stalls Arraignment

Fred AjuduaA fresh move by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arraign an alleged serial fraudster, Mr Fred Ajudua, before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has been stalled.

The arraignment was stalled by a preliminary objection raised by Mr Ajudua’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo.

The one time Lagos socialite, Ajudua, is facing a fresh 32-count amendment charge before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.

In the charges, Ajudua and a registrar in the Lagos State Judiciary, Rosulu Idowu Oluronke, allegedly conspired along with some others, still at large, to cajole and swindle a former Chief of Army Staff, General Ishaya Bamaiyi of $330,000 (three hundred and thirty thousand dollar) while he was in Kirikiri Maximum Prison.

The alleged funds were collected from General Bamaiyi under the guise of being part payments meant for the legal luminary, Afe Babalola’s professional fees to handle his case and facilitate his release from the prison custody. The offence was said to have been committed between November 2004 and June 2005.

In his preliminary objection, however, counsel to Mr Ajudua, Mr Olalekan Ojo, said that the amended charges would prejudice the decision of a pending appeal before the Lagos Division of the Appeal Court.

In the said appeal, Ajudua is challenging the jurisdiction of the lower court as well as the competency of the charge.

The EFCC has objected to the preliminary objection and the court has adjourned till July 30 to hear arguments for and against the application.

Alleged Money Laundering: Ajudua Asks EFCC to Try Bamaiyi

A suspected fraudster and legal practitioner,  Mr. Fred Ajudua, has asked a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to prefer money laundering charges against a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, (Rtd.).

In a fresh application filed before the court, Mr Ajudua is also challenging the competence of the 14 counts of fraud preferred against him for allegedly defrauding Gen Bamaiyi of about $5.9m (that’s about N1bn).

Mr. Ajudua contends that the former Chief of Army Staff’s petition and statements to the EFCC, amounts to a self-confession to various crimes, including conspiracy, aiding and abetting, money laundering and corrupting  public officers.

The fresh application which came out before the court, effectively stalled the scheduled arraignment of Mr. Ajudua for allegedly swindling Rtd Gen Bamaiyi, an offence said to be committed between November 2004 and June 2005.

In the charges, the EFCC alleged that the accused person defrauded the former army chief while they were both on remand at Kirikiri prison in Apapa area of Lagos for allegedly committing separate crimes.

Mr. Ajudua was said to have defrauded Gen Bamaiyi through false claims that the money represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and to facilitate his release from prison.

The suspect’s counsel, Mr. Olalekan Ojo, today argued that in view of previous Supreme Court decisions, an application challenging the competence of the charges should be taken first before the arraignment.

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye has ordered the EFCC to respond to the application within seven days; the EFCC has two days to file any possible “further reply” to EFCC’s counter-affidavit.

The hearing of the application was then fixed for February 27.

 

Lagos Chief Judge frees 233 inmates from Kirikiri prison

The Chief Judge of Lagos, Justice Ayotunde Phillips on Tuesday granted freedom to 233 prisoners, most of who have been awaiting trials for upwards of twelve years as part of the activities marking the beginning of a new Legal Year in the state.

Prison inmates; 33,692 out of 42,124 inmates across the country are awaiting trial.

130 inmates were released from prison custody at the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison while another 103 from the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison.

Justice Phillips who ordered their release during a visit to the Kirikiri prison said that the exercise was “in pursuant of the powers conferred on her under Section 1 (1) of the Criminal Justice Release from Custody Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2007″ and as part of the activities marking the 2012/2013 Legal Year.

She said ” there is a saying in the legal circle that it is better for 10 guilty persons to be free than for one innocent person to be incarcerated.

“We have gone through the list of those recommended for release. So for those of you qualified to be released, you are very lucky that your name has come up. So, go and sin no more”.

Justice Phillips counselled all those who regained freedom on Tuesday to turn a new leaf and go out to contribute their quota to the society.

She recalled that during her swearing in ceremony, she made a promise to decongest the prisons.

Towards this end, she promised that prison visits would not be confined to Legal year activity alone during her tenure.

She said that she intend to pay more regular visit to the prisons during her tenure than what obtained during the previous administrations.

Justice Phillips who noted that there has been a lot of human cry about prison congestion said that all those who qualified under the new criminal administration law would be granted freedom.

Welcoming the Chief Judge, the Deputy Comptroller of the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Olu Tinuoye said that it is very unusual for chief judges of Lagos state to visit the prisons.

“By this visit, a lot of them expect freedom. It is a matter of regret that Judges in the state have not being visiting the prison regularly. This is why their expectation is very high” he said.

Mr Tinuoye said a lot of the inmates awaiting trials have not found life easy behind the bars especially because they are in custody for petty offences.

His counterpart at the Medium Security Prison, Tunde Ladipo commended the efforts of the Lagos state government for taking care of the prisons.

Mr Ladipo however pleaded with government for the release of more awaiting trials in order to reduce the congestion in the prison.

Lagos police arrest pirate gang member attacking oil vessel

Police arrested Keyinde Oteju, a member of a gang known to have terrorized the Kirikiri waterways in Lagos, when he led the an attack on an oil tanker vessel.

The suspect and his notorious sea pirate gang, approaching via speed boat, had attacked the oil vessel and held the crew hostage for hours.

Cash and valuable were stolen from the vessel before the bandits took off.

The crew members immediately alerted authorities who embarked on a search leading to the arrest of the suspect.

Members of the Joint Task Force said the Oteju had been trying to flee the community when he had been caught by authorities.

The suspect was then handed over to police officials.

Lagos Police Command spokesman Mr Joseph Jayeoba confirmed the suspect was being held in police custody at Kirikiri station and would be charged to court following investigation.