The Lagos State Ministry of Justice has taken over the felony case against Mr Adebayo Benson from the Nigerian Police which has been handling the matter before Magistrate Anifowoshe G.O, sitting at the Ijede Court 5 in Ijede Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Ikorodu Local Government, Lagos State, Southwest, Nigeria.
A senior State Counsel, Mrs Ikwenobe A.O, who appeared for the prosecution during the matter on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, announced that the Ministry of Justice was taking over the matter from the Nigerian Police.
The suspect has been arraigned on five counts for allegedly committing felony, disturbance of public peace and attacking police officers with others who are said to be at large in respect of the disturbances over a large parcel of former NITEL lands along the Awolowo Way in Ikorodu.
The parcel of lands which were acquired in 1960 and released back to the families by the Federal Government, has been a source of many crises and litigations.
In the matter before the court in Ijede with Charge No: IKD/e/18/2021, the suspect who was first arraigned on November 15, 2021, and granted bail to the tune of N100, 000, was allegedly charged as follows:
“That you Adebayo Benson ‘m’ and others at large, on the 5th day of November 2021, at about 1200hr at NITEL Obafemi Awolowo Road in the Ikorodu Magistrate District did conspire among yourselves to commit a felony and, thereby, committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 411 of the criminal law, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015.
“That you Adebayo ‘m’ and others at large, on the same date and place in the aforementioned Magistrate District did conducted yourself in a manner likely to cause breach of the public peace and, thereby, committed an offense contrary and punishable under Section 168 (d) of the Criminal Law, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015.
“That you Adebayo Benson and others now at large, on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned Magistrate District while armed with locally made pistol and other dangerous weapons like cutlasses and sticks, did attack one ASP Ganiu Adaranijo and his team while performing their lawful duty and, thereby, committed an offense contrary and punishable under Section 245 of Criminal Law, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015.
“That you Adebayo Benson ‘m’ and others at large, on the same date and time in the aforementioned Magistrate District, did enter the landed property at NITEL Obafemi Awolowo Road which was peaceful and has ruling Order from Lagos State High Court with Suit No: IKD/5951MW/2018 and IKD/1000/LMW/2018 which was delivered by Justice .L.B. Lawal Akapo on the 28th May 2018 and, thereby, committed an offense contrary to and punishable under section 104(i) of the Criminal Law, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2015”.
Mrs Ikwenobe, after announcing to the court of the change in the prosecution team, also sought for adjournment of the matter for her to be abreast of the details of the prosecution file.
The Defendant’s counsel, Mr Adeleke Y.A, who did not object to the change, but observed that the adjournment sought by the prosecutor may be another ploy to delay the matter and subject his client to more agony.
His argument was premised on the ground that the prosecutor who was available with the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) and five witnesses, should have continued with the trial.
Other counsels that appeared in the matter were Mr Aminu Isaac for the prosecutor and Mr Abayomi Omotobora for the complainants.
The matter was adjourned till February 7, 2022.
Speaking with THE IMPACT after the adjournment, Mrs Ikwenobie said that she wouldn’t know if there will be new charges against Mr Benson until the Police avail him the case file.
Meanwhile Surveyor Seun, a partner of the suspect who spoke with our reporter after the adjournment, denied all the allegations by the Police.
He said that Benson was employed by one of the families that owns the land and he was on the land on the day that he was arrested to perform his lawful duty as a Surveyor.
“Benson is not an Ajagungbale or in any way threatening anybody or the peace of the society.
“He is a Surveyor like myself who was employed by one of the families that owns the land and went to the said land to carry out his job as assigned to him by the family”, he said.
He said that the suspect was not on the site on the said date and that his vehicle was forcefully removed on the highway by the police.
THE IMPACT gathered that there are other cases over the matter in four different courts across the state – Igbo Elefo, Igbosere and Ikorodu courts with 13, 4 and 15 suspects respectively being tried for different charges