Mobitel: Lagos seeks coroner inquest into Joseph's death

  • Monday, October 31, 2005 - By Olasunkanmi Akoni, Wahab Abdulah & Oluwaseun Adeyemi
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LAGOS—THE Lagos State Government through the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, SAN has filed a motion Ex-parte at the High Court of Lagos State seeking an order to convene a coroner’s inquest into the mysterious death of Mr. Alaba Joseph, the late Managing Director of Mobitel Nigeria Limited.

Mr. Joseph died in controversial circumstances.
The application by the Attorney-General followed a petition by the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Folashade Joseph complaining about the circumstances surrounding her husband’s death and requesting for an independent enquiry into the cause of death.

The motion Ex-parte was brought pursuant to Section 29(1)(a) of the Coroners Law Cap C16, Laws of Lagos State, 2003 which empowers the Attorney-General to inquire into the criminality or otherwise under such issues.

The Attorney-General prayed the court for an order that an inquest be held touching the death of one Mr. Alaba Joseph and for such further orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.

While the first post mortem examination of the deceased’s body indicated that he died of a gunshot injury to the head, the Inspector General of Police ordered a fresh autopsy which concluded that the death resulted from injuries sustained after a fall. The IGP has since released all suspects held in connection with the matter.
Under the Coroners Law of Lagos State, an inquest may be held when a Coroner is informed that the body of a deceased person is lying within his jurisdiction and there is reasonable cause to suspect that such person has died either a violent or an unnatural death or has died a sudden death of which the cause is unknown. The High Court has power to order an inquest upon the application of the State Attorney General.

In the 29 paragraph in support of the motion, deposed to by a senior counsel in the Ministry, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, she averred that a receiver manager was in the premises of the Mobitel Nigeria Ltd. on September 15, 2005 to take over the running of the company in which the deceased was the M.D., but while the team were on the premises attention was drawn to the fact that the deceased was lying face down on the ground of the first floor of the building in pool of blood.

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