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Arraignment of Oyo monarch, 10 others on terrorism charges stalled

By Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
14 January 2022   |   2:19 am
Planned arraignment of Oba Solomon Akinola, an Oyo State traditional ruler, on terrorism charges, was stalled at the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, following vehement objection to the jurisdiction of the court to conduct the trial.

Federal High Court, Abuja

Planned arraignment of Oba Solomon Akinola, an Oyo State traditional ruler, on terrorism charges, was stalled at the Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, following vehement objection to the jurisdiction of the court to conduct the trial.

Although Oba Akinola was not physically present to take his plea, three of his High Chiefs, Sunday Aderinto, 87; Samson Ogunmola, 76; and Timothy Adewale Aderinto, 71 were brought to court under heavy police security.

But shortly after the three were called to the dock, their counsel, Mr. Jimoh Abdulsalam, raised an objection to taking of their plea on offences allegedly committed between May 10 and 21, 2021.

The counsel based his objection on validity of the charges, insisting the three were victims of a land dispute between Oko and Aagba communities near Ogbomoso in Surulere Local Council of Oyo state.

He told the court that only the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) could handle terrorism charges and expressed displeasure that police presented a communal land dispute as terrorism.

He also challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit, stressing that the chiefs, who had spent 37 days in detention, were not properly before the court.

The problem was compounded by inability of the prosecution to counter the oral objection of the defendants with any authority of the law.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, consequently, directed the defense counsel to put his objection in writing and serve the same on the prosecution.

Other chiefs billed for arraignment but said to be at large are: Jimoh Asimiyu, Segun Gbadebo, Oluwole Ogundeji, Akintaro Matthew Piamo, Rafiu Ganiyu, Adejare Adeleru and Zacheus Adeleru.

Inspector General of Police had filed the terrorism charges against them through an officer in the legal department of the Force Headquarters, Orji Kalu.