The Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Yaba, Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria, has granted bail to the four suspects in the alleged murder of one Ifeanyi Etunmuse Godfrey, a 52 years old staff of Western Funeral Home Limited, Ijede, last year.
His Honour, Mrs A.O. Olatunbosun, who is presiding over the matter, executed the advice of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) dated December 13, 2021, while also stating that the four suspects (Atunrase Sodiq Omolabi, Male, 28 years, Shittu Michael Olawale, Male, 28 years, Olaide Opeifa, Make, 40 years, and Olanrewaju Adebiyi (a.k.a Maja), Male, 35 years, in the matter in Suit No: MISC/MCY/766/21, have a case to answer.
Before adjourning the matter for mention on March 23, 2022, Chief Magistrate Olatubosun granted the four suspects bail in the sum of N300, 000 each.
At the beginning of the matter, the Magistrate commended officials of the Ikoyi Prison for ensuring that the suspects who have been in their custody since last year, appeared in her court well kept.
Mr Oluwatosin Onamade, a former Chairmanship aspirant of Ijede Local Council Development Area (LCDA) and Chief Executive Officer, Western Funeral Home Limited, Ijede, had, in a petition to the Deputy Inspector of Police dated April 19th, 2021, had alleged that some thugs attacked his office, damaged his property , shot and injured his brother, Olufemi Onamade and killed one Ifeanyi Etunmuse Godfrey, during the attack.
Onamade, who stated that the attack on his office was covered by the CCTV installed in the facility, also alleged that the thugs were sponsored by Hon. Fathiu Salisu, former Chairman, Ijede LCDA, whom he was contesting the chairmanship of the council with then, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He had listed 17 suspects, including Hon. Fathiu Salisu, Tope Salisu, Atunrase Sodiq Omolabi , Shittu Michael Olawale, Olaide Olaifa, Olanrewaju Adebiyi (a.k.a. Maja), Yusuf Opeifa, Lookman Ashafa, Soliu Maja and Kuye Kasumu among others in the petition as those that attacked his office and killed one of his staff.
But advice by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Lagos State Ministry of Justice (DPP), exonerates Hon. Fathiu and some others in the killing of Godfrey, but stated that Atunrase Sodiq and others have a case to answer.
In the DPP’s advice signed by Ms. M.I. Oshodi, Deputy Director, Directorate of Public Prosecutions, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, the Directorate in the first paragraph of page two said:
“After carefully considering the facts available in the duplicate case file, this Office is of the view that a prima facie case of Conspiracy to Commit Felony, Conduct Likely to Cause Breach, Willful damage to Property , Grievous Harm Murder and Being Members of an Unlawful Society contrary to Sections 411, 168 (D), 350, 245 and 223 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 2 of the Unlawful Secieties and Cultism (Prohibition) Law 2021, respectively, is established against PB BC – Atunrase Sodiq, PG B10 – Shittu Michael Olawale, PG B12 – Olaide Opeifa and PG B13 – Olanrewaju Adebiyi a.k.a ‘Maja’, while there is no offense disclosed against PG S B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B8, B9 and B11”, the DPP advice stated.
In page three, paragraph seven, the DPP also stated that:
“In respect of the confession by some of the suspects against PG B11 – Hon. Salisu Fathiu Jimoh and the fact that PG B13 was procured by PG B11 for the purpose of the onslaught on PG A5, it is trite that the Confession of an accused is not admissible against another except it is adopted by the accused, Emmanuel vs. State 2015 (LPELR – 41676 (CA), worthy of note is that the fact that BG B11 denied participation in the crime and there is no other piece of evidence linking him to the commission of the offense. Also, the evidence of procuration by some of the suspects is hearsay which is inadmissible and PG B13 – Olanrewaju Adebiyi (a.k.a ‘Maja’), who allegedly informed the suspects, denied this fact in his statement.
The DPP’s advice further stated that:
“In view of the aforesaid, this office shall prosecute the Suspects PG B6 – Atunrase Sodiq, PG B 10 – Shittu Michael Olawale, PG B12 – Olaide Opeifa and PG P13 – Olanrewaju Adebiyi (a.k.a. ‘Maja’) for the offences of Conspiracy to commit Felony, Conduct likely to cause Breach of Peace, Willful damage to Property, Grievous Harm, Murder and being member of an Unlawful Society contrary to sections 411, 168 (D), 350, 245 and 223 of the Criminal Law of Law of Lagos State 2015 and Section 2 of the Unlawful Societies and Cultism (Prohibition) Law 2021 respectively. There is no offense disclosed against PGS B1, B2, B3, B4, BG5, B7, B8, B9 and B11 and they should, therefore, be released if still in custody.
The DPP’s advice also directed the police to intensify efforts in apprehending other suspects who are still at large.
“The Police should intensify efforts to apprehend Waliu, Lukman Ashafa, Igboro, Ikon, Ote and Yusuf Opeifa (Seven), Ahmed and other suspects as soon as the hearing notice is received”, it added.
“Extra copies of this Legal Advice and Forms for Information and Legal Representation for the suspects are attached for service on the suspects in line with the provisions of Section 74 (5) and (6) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2015”.