Offa robbery trial stalled again
Trial of the five accused persons in the Offa robbery case at an Ilorin High Court was on Friday stalled again, as the new prosecution team leader, Professor Wahab Egbewole SAN, asked for an adjournment to enable him to study case file on the matter.
It is recalled that definite hearing on the matter could not commence on January 7, 2019, as the prosecution failed to bring witnesses who will testify in the case to the court.
Justice Halimat Salman of an Ilorin High Court, who castigated the prosecution team in charge of the robbery case for unduly prolonging the matter before her court, was apparently miffed by another request for adjournment shortly after the case came up on Friday due to the appearance of a new team leader for the prosecution.
In her ruling, Justice Salman noted that the court only reluctantly approved the request for an adjournment to enable the prosecution counsel to study the case files and also for the defence to have access to the video clips.
The presiding judge, who said that she was dissatisfied with the prosecution on the frequent request for an adjournment in the case, expressed concern that the court might be blamed for delaying the case.
“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 won’t want it that later the court will be blamed for delay of the matter”, she said.
When the case came up for hearing, University of Ilorin Professor and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Wahab Egbewole 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, while asking for another adjournment, explained to the court that he was only given the fiat of the matter on Thursday, at about 7:00 pm 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.
The senior advocate pledged not to make a further request for adjournment as the case progresses, informing the court that his team has only four witnesses to call which could be done with at one sitting.
The defence counsel, Mathias Emeribe, who did not object to the request for adjournment, however, 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 he said he intends to use in prosecuting the case.
“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 to enter a proper defence for them” he said.
The matter was 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.