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Court discharges seven accused of NURTW chairman’s murder

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A judge’s gavel rests on top of a desk inside a courtroom. (AFP/Joe Raedle)

Seven persons accused of the murder of late former National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) chairman in Ekiti State, Mr. Omolafe Aderiye, were on Monday discharged and acquitted by an Ado-Ekiti High Court.

Those discharged are Adebayo Aderiye, Adeniyi Adedipe, Sola Durodola, Kayode Ajayi, Oso Farotimi, Sola Adenijo and Rotimi Olanbiwonnu who are all members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).

Aderiye, a political ally of Governor Ayo Fayose, was murdered at his business premises in Ijigbo, Ado-Ekiti on September 25, 2014 and the case commenced in November of the same year.

The trial judge, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, held that the prosecution failed to prove the complicity of the accused persons in the murder of Aderiye. Ogunmoye held further that the prosecution failed to prove the count of conspiracy to kill the late Aderiye and the count of murder against all the seven defendants.

According to him, the case of the prosecution was not helped by contradictory evidence led by its witnesses, which he said the court won’t believe. For instance the judge faulted the evidence of first Prosecution Witness, Adewale Ibidapo, that one Adesokan Adedeji Israel emerged from a Golf car and shot sporadically into the air before firing the shot that killed the late NURTW chairman.

Ogunmoye held that “it is inconceivable that amidst sporadic gunshots, the witness would observe the purported killer(s) as what would be in the mind of the witness was how to escape from the scene, hence the court won’t believe Ibidapo’s evidence.

Another witness whose evidence was discountenanced was Gbolahan Okeowo, who, according to the judge, gave “mutually contradictory” evidence.The judge ruled: “Inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses has created a doubt. Where two or more witnesses give contradictory evidence, it will be illogical to believe their testimony. None of the alibi raised by the defendants was investigated by the police. The evidence of the prosecution failed to bring down the evidence of the defendants.

“The plea of evidence succeeds that the accused were not at the scene of the crime. The prosecution failed to rebut the evidence of the defendants. The prosecution has been unable to prove that the death of Chief Omolafe Aderiye was caused by any of the defendants.Defence lawyers, Adetunji Oso, Isaac Omolade, Adeoye Aribasoye, hailed the court for the judgment. Prosecution lawyer, Mohammed Alaaya, praised the court for looking at the evidence brought before it.

Following the judgment, there was wild jubilation triggered by supporters, friends and family members of the defendants who stormed the court in solidarity with their loved ones.


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NURTWOmolafe Aderiye

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