Teslim Folarin, Senate majority leader, and three other suspects remanded in prison over the alleged killing of Lateef Salako (aka Eleweomo), factional leader of the National Union of Road Transport Worker (NURTW), applied for bail at an Oyo state High Court on Thursday.
An Oyo state chief magistrate, Shakirat Badrudeen, ordered the four men to be remanded in prison custody until January 14 when their case would be reopened for mention.
They were arraigned on Tuesday on a two-count charge of felony (conspiracy to murder) and murder of Mr Salako who was gruesomely killed after the local government congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at Ona Ara, Oyo state, last Thursday.
Though the magistrate agreed with the argument of Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association who led the team of lawyers defending Mr Folarin and others, that the court lacks the jurisdiction to hear criminal matters, Ms Badrudeen, still adjourned the case till January 14, for mention.
The other accused persons are Ramoni Jayeola Bankole, Olaide Raji and Raimi Ismaila.
Filing the bail application on Thursday, Mr Akeredolu, supported the documents with a 44-page affidavit. In the application tagged M/8/2011, the applicants joined the state attorney general and the state commissioner of police.
For the whole of Wednesday, Mr Akeredolu and his team had brain-stormed on the modalities to hasten the bail of the senate leader, who had been in custody since Monday when he honoured the police invitation to come and write his statement on the death of Mr Salako.
The Agodi prison, where the accused were detained, was still bustling yesterday with Mr Folarin’s sympathizers. It appeared as though the senate leader had the support of prominent Ibadan political and business leaders. Prisons officials faced a heavy volume of visitors calling at the prison throughout the day to see the politician.
Baba Adisa Bolanta, Oyo State commissioner of police, has, however hinted that more people will be declared wanted by the police today (Friday) over Mr Salako’s death.
Mr Bolanta, who disclosed this to journalists in Ibadan on Thursday, said the police are yet to close the case on the murder as many other suspects are yet to be apprehended. He opined that the command should be commended for its efforts in unraveling the mystery behind the killing of the unionist in the past week
Police deny bias charges
In another development, Lekan Balogun, leader of the opposition against the state governor, Adebayo Alao-Akala, announced that he planned to hold a rally on January 15 to push for the deployment of the commissioner of the police from Oyo State. Mr Balogun accused Mr Bolanta of corruption and bias in the murder case of Mr Salako. He said he would ensure that the police commissioner was transferred from the state to allow for peace. Denying the allegation of bias against Mr Folarin, the police boss said the force established a case against him before arraigning him and three others last Tuesday.
Saying he had given the Ibadan high chief respect as a senior citizen and a former lawmaker, he said, “We will not delay in dealing with him [Mr Balogun] according to the law if he tries to incite the public against the police.”
Mr Bolanta said that none of the cases of crime reported since he took over his post in Ibadan had gone uninvestigated, and that everything he did as police chief was done with the consciousness that he would give account one day “where the whole SANs in the world would not be able to defend me.”
He said investigations conducted so far have shown that the Senate leader and other accused persons were present at the scene of the incident. He said the four police officers attached to the senate leader who were also arrested and detained shortly after the killing of Mr Salako, are assisting the police in their investigation of the matter.
He also said that Mukaila Lamidi (aka Auxiliary), Mr Salako’s deputy, was interrogated at the Iyaganku Police station yesterday over his alleged involvement in the vandalism of a filling station belonging to Lateef Akinsola Oloruntoki (aka Tokyo), the state chairman of the NURTW.