Court frees Oyo Chief of Staff, Ilaka, of murder charge

•Orders police to return his licensed firearm

An Oyo State High Court, on Monday, discharged and acquitted the Chief of State of Staff to the state governor, Chief Bisi Ilaka, of a murder charge preferred against him in a case instituted by the state government in 2018.

Delivering judgment in the suit brought before him at the Oyo Division of the High Court, Justice K.B Olawoyin agreed with the no-case submission of Ilaka’s counsel, Abiodun Abdu-Raheem, who is a commissioner-nominee, and freed Ilaka of all the eight-count charge brought against.

Justice Olawoyin also ordered the police to return to Ilaka, his licensed pump-action firearm and other materials taken from him before the commencement of the trial.

Abdu-Raheem had, in his no-case submission in the suit number HOY/12C/22018, argued that the quality of evidence tendered and the testimonies of the five prosecution witnesses called during the trial did not establish a prima facie case against Ilaka.

Abiodun had asked the court to consequently determine whether the evidences led by the prosecution linked his client to “all the ingredients of the offences alleged and whether the quality of evidence adduced is such that a court can safely convict on.”

Ilaka, alongside with his security attaché, Temitayo Alamiyo, were docked over a pandemonium that broke out at the palace of the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, during Orayan festival on September 8, 2018, leading to the death of three persons.

Ilaka, then the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for Oyo Central Senatorial election, was said to have been waylaid by hoodlums during the festival. In the ensuing melee, his sport utility vehicle was damaged.

He and Alamiyo were remanded in Agodi prisons where they were held for 18 days before they were granted bail a few days before the primary election for the election in which he emerged unopposed.

Reacting to the judgment, Abdu-Raheem said: “The Judge did a wonderful job, having combed all the pieces of evidence before the court vis a vis the requirements with regards to the charge against my client. Our law is further enriched by his immense decision.

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“I am happy and I thank God that the journey has ended well. I equally thank my client for his cooperation. While we were crossing the thick forest of litigation, we subjected our ideas to constant review, which he contributed immensely to. Today, I am now a better advocate,” he said.

Also reacting, the head of his political think tank, Alhaji Bola Akinyemi, described the judgment as a vindication of his belief that Ilaka was only framed up.

“Ilaka is a peace-loving man who can’t hurt a fly. He has an undying love for the people from Oyo. Ordinarily by his schedule, he wasn’t supposed to be in Oyo on the day of the tragedy. But his love for the people of Oyo made to answer the call from the other high chiefs. He abandoned a party meeting to attend the festival

“For him to have been accused of shooting his own people is unthinkable. He went through emotional stress during the trial. If not for the plan we had put in place, it would have affected negatively, our plans for his primary election. But we thank God everything is now history,” Akinyemi said.

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