Ondo govt denies unconditional release of traditional ruler from prison
Ondo state government on Tuesday denied ordering the unconditional release of the embattled traditional ruler of Ayetoro community in Ilaje Local Government of Ondo state, Olorunmbe Ojagbohunmi, from prison custody.
The denial was contained in a statement issued and signed by the State Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Mr Kola Olawoye, disclaiming that the report was not only false, or mischievous but targeted to portray the state government as an enemy of rule of law.
The statement absolved the state governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, from meddling in the case or the chieftaincy tussle in the coastal community, saying the report was totally incorrect.
The statement noted that Ojagbohunmi was released by the court after meeting the bail condition and the state government was not involved in his release as claimed in some reports.
The statement read that: “The government of Ondo state under the able leadership of Mr Rotimi Akeredolu strongly disclaims a publication that a monarch regains freedom after nine months in prison unconditionally.
“The state government hereby states the correct position as follows; that Mr Ojagbohunmi Oluwanmbe and five others are facing criminal charges in case All/50C/2019 before His Lordship, Hon. Justice Bode Adegbehingbe.
“Bail was granted to Mr Oluwanmbe Ojagbohunmi and the other five defendants on the 30th September 2019 by the said Judge at his discretion based on the merit of the application before the court.
“Therefore it is not correct that the state government unconditionally released Ojagbohunmi and the other defendants on 30th September 2019.
“Bail is not tantamount to the discharge or release of the defendants.
“The publication linking the state government to the release is totally mischievous and contrary to the provisions of the Ondo State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2015.”
The state government, however, stated that it would not pervert the course of justice, not minding the personality of those involved in the case, saying the law must take its course.
Ojagbohunmi regained his freedom from Olokuta Medium Prison after being on remand for nine months following the crisis which erupted in the Ayetoro community over the traditional stool of the community.
There has been a crisis in the riverine community of Ayetoro between the camp of Ojagbohunmi and Oba Micah Ajijo over who is the authentic monarch of the religious community following the death of former occupier of the throne, Oba Gad Asogbon.
The crisis got to its head when the only church in the community; Holy Apostles Church was sealed following a bloody clash between the followers of Ajijo and that of Ojagbohunmi.