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Dokubo wants treason charge quashed

Posted by From Lemmy Ughegbe (Abuja) and Emmanuel Badejo (Lagos) on 2005/11/15 | Views: 296 |

Dokubo wants treason charge quashed

DETAINED leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Abuja to void the five-count charge of treason preferred against him by the Federal Government.

DETAINED leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari yesterday urged a Federal High Court in Abuja to void the five-count charge of treason preferred against him by the Federal Government.

In the same vein, a Lagos High Court yesterday ordered the release of the two factional leaders of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Dr. Frederick Fasehun and Chief Gani Adams.

The duo have been in detention over alleged criminal offences.

The request is coming barely 72 hours after he had asked trial judge, Justice Peter Olayiwola to disqualify himself from taking any further decision on the matter. This followed Justice Olayiwola's decision to refuse Dokubo-Asari bail.

Justice Olayiwola cited security for refusing the bail application.

In a motion on notice filed by one of his defence lawyers, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Dokubo-Asari contends that he has no case to answer.

Consequently, he prayed the court for "an order quashing the charge in this matter as the prosecution has no prima facie case to sustain the charges based on the proof of evidence produced so far."

A three-paragraph affidavit was deposed to by a counsel in Dokubo-Asari's defence team, Mr. Donald Ariku, who admitted that the prosecution supplied the defence team with the proof of evidence in the matter on Wednesday, November 9.

However, this is a twist to a motion filed by Keyamo last Friday on behalf of his client, praying Justice Olayiwola to discontinue adjudicating on the matter.

The motion sought "an order disqualifying yourself, my lord, the Honourable

Justice Peter Olayiwola from further hearing this matter or taking any steps in the determination thereof."

Keyamo deposed to a 10-paragraph affidavit, wherein he averred that it was Justice Babs Keuwumi of the Federal High Court 5, Abuja, who on October 6, this year took his plea on the five count-charge and adjourned definite hearing to November 10, same year.

He made further averments, which include the following:

that surprisingly on November 10, when the court re-convened, another judge, the Honourable Justice Peter Olayiwola, sat to continue proceedings on the matter.

that as a legal practitioner, I know that the Justice Peter Olayiwola sits at the Federal High Court, Benin Division, and he is still in that division.

that it means that the Honourable Justice Peter Olayiwola was brought from Benin specifically to handle only this matter when none of the parties protested against Justice Babs Keuwumi.

that the accused / applicant, Alhaji Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, informed me on November 11, outside the courtroom, after the ruling refusing bail, at about 10.00 a.m., after he reflected on the sudden change of the judge, and I verily believe him that he is apprehensive that he will not get justice with Justice Peter Olayiwola presiding over his case.

that appointment of a "special judge", that is, Justice Peter Olayiwola, for this matter will give the impression to members of the public that justice will not be done in this matter.
This follows the declaration last week by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Lagos State that the allegations preferred against Fasehun and Adams of the OPC could not be substantiated.

Four other persons charged with the same offences were also ordered released. They are Mr. Ajayi Edward Olushola, Alhaji Mudasiru Adeniji, Alhaji Oyinlola Awe and Chief Wahab Isiaka.

The order came at the resumed hearing of bail applications filed by the accused persons before Justice Sybil Nwaka of a Lagos Division of the State High Court.

The bail application had followed an earlier order by an Igbosere Magistrate's Court, 18 days ago to remand the accused persons in prison custody pending the outcome of a legal advice from the DPP, Lagos State.

They were whisked to Kirikiri Prisons at the instance of the Nigerian Police, represented by Mr. Columbus Okaro, a deputy commissioner of police attached to Force Crime Investigation Department (FCID), Alagbon, Lagos.

Okaro, while urging the lower court for the remand order, had said that the force would be awaiting the advice of the DPP.

At the Lagos High Court yesterday, the bail applications ought to have been argued.

However, counsel to both Fasehun and Adams, Chief Godwin Ajayi (SAN) and Mr. Oluwole Kehinde, told the court that the applications would no longer be necessary hence they were withdrawn.

They disclosed that the DPP advice, signed by Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, had overtaken their applications.

The DPP statement, which was made available to newsmen, said there was no proof and concrete evidence to try the accused persons for the offences preferred against them.

Accordingly, they were asked to be released.

And on the strength of the legal advice, counsel to the two OPC leaders and other accused persons urged the court to order their immediate release.

The state, represented by Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, did not object to the plea, adding that there were numerous case-gaps in the case file presented to it by the police.

Rotimi said: "It is trite law that evidence of suspicion no matter how grave cannot substantiate a criminal charge," adding on this note, "I shall not be opposing the oral application from the accused's counsel that their clients be released."

Justice Nwaka then ordered that the accused be released forthwith.

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