Court dismisses no case submission by pipeline vandals
A FEDERAL High Court, Lagos Monday dismissed a no-case submission filed by twenty suspected pipeline vandals who allegedly killed nine police officers in Arepo area of Ikorodu.
The suspected vandals, who are being tried before Justice Okon Abang, had filed a no-case submission asking the court to set them free on the strength of argument that the police had failed to establish prima facie evidence against them.
Justice Abang had compulsorily closed the prosecution’s case owing to the fact that witnesses were not presented before the court after the initial two that testified.
Dissatisfied with the ruling, the police had appealed same and asked for stay of proceedings before the trial court.
But Justice Abang, in a combined ruling on all the applications before him, dismissed both the no-case submission of the defence and the application for stay of proceedings filed by the prosecution.
The judge said there was strong need for the accused persons to react to the testimonies of the two witnesses of the police who said they saw the accused chanting war songs while they were killing the nine policemen who tried to stop them from stealing petrol from the pipeline belonging the Federal Government.
The judge therefore dismissed the no-case submission and ordered the accused to open their defence.
The court, in a related matter, also struck out the names of some of the accused persons from the kidnapping charge against them.
The matter was subsequently adjourned till March 10 and 11, 2015 for continuation of trial.
The kidnapping matter was adjourned to March 12, 2015 for arraignment.
According to the first matter, the suspects were said to have killed the police officers on May 24, 2014, while attempting to escape with stolen oil.
The twenty persons standing trial over the May 24, 2014 crime include Felix Yayu, Ijoufaya, Yakubu Ebiwei, Augustine Ebiwei, Tamara Dembofa, Owei Atile, Agbara Tiewei, Rufus Godwin, Tiery Koiyetin and Ebis Sobijoh.
Others are Ibori Lawrence, Eberebu Ibori, Atinuke Odewale, Fatai Ishola, Ahmed Bashorun, Odewale Waheed, Susan Viana, Tuesday Filatei, Yeiyah Yellow and Ismail Abdullahi.
They were arraigned on August 7, 2014 on a 14-count bordering on conspiracy, pipeline vandalism, oil theft and unlawful killings.
They pleaded not guilty and have since been in prison, the court having refused them bail on the grounds that the allegations against them were grave.
The court had, however, promised accelerated hearing in their trial.
In the charge against them, the accused were being held responsible for the deaths of the following officers: ASP Abdullahi Bature, Inspector Raymond Oriere, Inspector Usman Mohammed, Insp. Tijani Jimoh, Cpl. Elogbamen Timothy, Insp. Oguntimehin Kolawole, Cpl. Yakubu Aliyu, Cpl. Usman Abdukarim and Cpl. Dauda Mohammed.
The alleged offences were said to contravene sections 3(6), 4(a), 7 (a) (b), 17 (a) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17 and Section 319 of the Criminal Code, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
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