Awaiting trial inmate escapes in court

An inmate of the medium security prison, Koton-Karfe in Kogi state, Lawrence Urih has escaped from custody during his trial at the State High Court, Lokoja.

The accused escaped from the prison wanders in the premises of the state high court where he was brough for the continuation of his trial.

It was gathered that the inmate who was standing trial at Kogi High Court II for criminal conspiracy and armed robbery scaled the walls of the High Court complex and escaped when an officer of the Prison Service escorted him out to urinate.

Urih, a painter from Ole, Delta State, was escorted out by an unarmed prisons warden and crossed a stretch of over 50 meters of grassland to the high wall to urinate.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Kogi state command of the Nigerian Prisons Service, Umar Abubakar, who confirmed the incident on Tuesday in Lokoja, said the escape took place on Monday.

He however, said the command was not immediately informed as he had to confirm from the officer in charge of the Koton-Karfe prisons on Tuesday.

However, the prosecuting counsel, Badama Kadiri, expressed concerns over the development, saying he suspected foul play in the escape of the accused.

He said it was wrong for a trained prisons’ personnel to escort a self-confessed armed robber to urinate during trial unarmed and without handcuffs.

Kadiri said he was particularly disturbed that the prison officers did not tell him, adding that he had to apply for adjournment when he did not see the accused in court.

On the trial of the accused, the prosecuting counsel said the trial had had reached advance stage as that four of his eight witnesses had already testified and one was billed to testify on Monday but for the escape.

In his head charges, said Urih allegedly conspired with one Aby (surename unknown) and a commercial motorcyclist whose identity is not known both at large, to rob a former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Lokoja branch, William Aliwo of N500,000 cash at gun point.

The charge said Aliwo was robbed at gun point in his office on May 9, 2016 at about 12 noon.

Kadiri said that the accused also made away with a Nokia 640XL handset and one IPAD but luck ran out on him on May 10, 2017 when the lawyer’s secretary, Hajarat Alkali spotted him in banking hall of Zenith Bank, Lokoja and promptly reported.

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