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Alleged killers of Lagos billionaire businessman, get trial dates

By Joseph Onyekwere
31 August 2021   |   4:02 am
Justice Yetunde Oyesanya of the Lagos High Court, would on October 28, November 2nd, 4th and 9th commence and continue the trial of Daniel Ibeaji and two other co-accused persons, who allegedly murdered a Lagos billionaire businessman...

Justice Yetunde Oyesanya of the Lagos High Court, would on October 28, November 2nd, 4th and 9th commence and continue the trial of Daniel Ibeaji and two other co-accused persons, who allegedly murdered a Lagos billionaire businessman, Chief Ignatius Odunuke, in 2019 at a hotel in Ajah, Lagos.

The other two are Uzor Igwe Arinze and Cletus Solomon.

The defendants are being prosecuted by the state in an amended charge marked LD/12566C/20 for allegedly killing the businessman, while pretending to buy a property from him.

The alleged serial killer, Ibeaji, who claimed to be a trained medical doctor, is facing trial together with the other two on a three count charge of conspiracy to commit felony, to wit: “Conspiracy to kidnap, contrary to section 3 of the Kidnapping Prohibition Law of Lagos State 2017; kidnapping, contrary to Section 2 of the Kidnapping Prohibition Law of Lagos State, 2017 and murder, contrary to Section 223 of the Criminal Law, laws of Lagos State, 2015.”

The particulars of the offence signed by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. A.O Adeyemi reads: “Daniel Ibeaji (m), Uzor Igwe Arinze (m) and Cletus Solomon (m) on or about the first day of December 2019, at Atican Beach Hotel, Ajah, in the Lagos judicial division conspired to kidnap.

“Daniel Ibeaji (m), Uzor Igwe Arinze (m) and Cletus Solomon (m) on or about the first day of December 2019, at Atican Beach Hotel, Ajah, in the Lagos judicial division kidnapped one Chief Ignatius Odunuke.

“Daniel Ibeaji (m), Uzor Igwe Arinze (m) and Cletus Solomon (m) on or about the first day of December 2019, at Atican Beach Hotel, Ajah, in the Lagos judicial division killed one Chief Ignatius Odunuke by hitting him on the head with an axe and injecting him with Diazepam drug.”

At the last sitting on July 27, 2021, when the defendants were produced in Court, the prosecutor and counsel to the accused persons, as well as Oluwaseun Kazeem, who is holding a watching brief for the complainants, announced their appearances.

The counsel to the 1st defendant, C.J Jiakponna intimated the Court of his pending bail motion on health grounds. He, thereafter, moved his motion for a comprehensive production of the medical condition/report of his client (Ibeaji) by the Correctional Centre, Ikoyi.

Justice Adesanya granted the motion and ordered that the result of the medical condition of the 1st defendant must be provided before the court within 14 day from the sitting date.

The judge further reiterated that the status of the medical condition of the accused person was necessary for bail consideration.

She, however, noted that the nature of the offences for which the defendants are charged, is capital punishment, adding that granting bail in the case can only be on serious health condition, which the Ikoyi Correctional centre medical facility cannot handle.

The Court further advised counsel to the accused persons to explore the opportunity of plea bargain on time, if they are interested in it and not when trial has commenced or at the closure of the prosecution’s case.

The judge stated that such plea bargain application would be discarded if presented at advanced stages, considering the magnitude of the offence, which the accused persons are being tried for.

She explained that the practice of plea bargain is approved in Lagos for such offences, adding that it is only in cases of rape that it would not be entertained.

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