AGAIN COURT FAILS TO COMMENCE DEFINITE HEARING ON OFFA ROBBERY; ACCUSES PROSECUTION OF DELAY.
Adigun Obadara, Ilorin.
The prosecution team in the Offa Robbery matter of 5th April,2018, has been lambasted by Justice Halimat Saleeman of an Ilorin High Court “for unduly prolonging the matter before her court.”
Definite hearing was to begin on Friday, but was truncated by the new prosecutor who requested for adjournment almost immediately the case was called up.
Infuriated by the incessant demands for adjournment, the judge expressed dissatisfaction with the prosecution on the frequent request for adjournment in the case, expressing concern that the court might be blamed for delaying the case.
She said: “I don’t like what is happening in this case. It is unfortunate that the Attorney General did not give you (new prosecution team leader), the file on time. I don’t want that later they will be blaming the court”.
The new prosecution team leader is a professor from University of Ilorin and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wahab Egbewole who announced appearance for the prosecution which had hitherto been led by either the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Alhaji Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN) or the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr Jimoh Mumini.
Egbewole, pleaded with the court that he was only given the fiat of the matter on Thursday evening and even though he spent the night perusing the documents, he still needed to be well abreast of the case to offer his best in the matter.
He however assured not to make further request for adjournment as the case progressed
He informed the court that his team has only four witnesses to call which could be done with at one sitting.
Counsel to the accused, Matthias Emeribe, did not object to the request for adjournment, but asked the new prosecution team leader to impress it on the police to make available to the defence, a particular video clip in their custody which they intend to use in prosecuting the case.
He said, “The learned silk should impress it on the police to avail me of the video evidence which they said they want to use in this case. It is important that I study the video and bring it to the attention of my clients so I can have a true picture of the situation to enable me enter a proper defence for them”
In her ruling, Justice Saleeman noted that the court only reluctantly approved the request for adjournment to enable the prosecution counsel study the case files and also for the defence to have access to the video clips in question.
The matter was later adjourned to Friday January 25, 2019 for definite hearing.
Five persons; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran are standing trial before the court over their alleged involvement in the April 5, 2018 robbery during which 30 persons were killed.