Court acquits ex-SUG president of cultism charges
An Ogun State Chief Magistrate’s Court sitting in Abeokuta has discharged and acquitted a former president of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Adegboye Olatunji, of cultism charges.
Olatunji, who was elected the union’s president in December 2019, was allegedly caught in the bush in the Gbogidi area of Ilaro, in the regalia of a cult group, Black Axe, alongside one other student, Taiwo Olanrewaju.
The former SUG president and Olanrewaju were later arraigned on three counts of conspiracy, and membership of an unlawful society and unlawful assembly.
They were charged with conspiracy to commit a felony, unlawful assembly and membership of an unlawful society by the police, contrary to Section 69 and punishable under Section 70 of the Criminal Law of Ogun State.
However, Chief Magistrate J.E. Akan, in his judgment, said there were major contradictions in the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses on what led to the arrest of the two defendants.
The chief magistrate noted that the contradictions also exposed “all the fabricated tissue of lies woven together just to give the impression that the two defendants were having a secret cult initiation inside the bush.”
The court, therefore, discharged and acquitted the two defendants of the three counts.
The Chief magistrate said: “It is instructive to note that the prosecution relies on the same set of facts and evidence as evaluated above to establish this charge. There are no other pieces of evidence separately to establish this charge.
“The witnesses were already discredited during the cross-examinations and the truthfulness of their testimonies has been held to be in doubt. Needless to say here that there is no evidence with which the prosecution can establish the essential elements of this offence.
“It will amount to embarking on a voyage of discovery to an unknown destination when indeed there is no fact or evidence disclosed by any of the prosecution witnesses to establish this charge. In view of this, I have no hesitation to dismiss this count against the two defendants, and it is hereby dismissed.
“In conclusion, each of the three counts is hereby dismissed against each of the two defendants. A verdict of not guilty is hereby returned in favour of each of the two defendants. Each of them is hereby discharged and acquitted on each of the three count charges.”