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Jelili Atiku, five others back to prison ahead of trial


Jelili Atiku

Jelili Atiku

It was an anticlimax yesterday at the Magistrate’s Court in Ejigbo, Lagos State for the trial of foremost visual artist, Jelili Atiku and five others, who were arraigned for allegedly attacking the palace of the Ojon of Ejigboland, Oba Morufu Adekunle Ojoola.

At the resumed hearing of the case between the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni and the defendants, who had prepared for commencement of trial proceedings, fresh charges brought up by the prosecution ensured Atiku had to be remanded at Kirikiri until his bail conditions are perfected.

Jelili Atiku, Lasisi Muraina, Adede Goloba and two other females, Daramola Jelilat and Monsurat Fasola, had in January 18 been arraigned for disrupting public peace through the display of a masquerade by a cult called Aragamago to attack the palace of Ejigbo monarch.

Due to the additional charges and amendment to earlier ones presented in court, the presiding Magistrate, Mrs. J.O.E Adeyemi, reviewed the bail condition earlier granted to the defendants, which was the sum of N100,000 with one surety in like sum. The adjusted bail condition was reviewed to N200,000 with one surety each for the six defendants.

However, CORA Nigeria has called for the dismissal of charges against the performance artist. The call was made yesterday as the CORA/Arterial Network Nigeria joined thousands of artists and activists across the African continent, to commemorate the 9th anniversary of the establishment of Arterial Network.

The group called on the Chief Judge of Lagos State, Hon Justice O.O. Atilade and the presiding magistrate judge to ensure fair trial in the case over a public performance of Jelili’s artistic creation titled ‘ARAGAMAGO Will Rid This Land Of Terrorism.’

National coordinator of the group, Ayodele Ganiu, said some strange things are happening to the case even before commencement of trial. “For a start, we would be monitoring the case closely to establish any bias because this court building was donated by the complainant, Oba Ojoola to the state judiciary on April 19, 2011. We hope such influence won’t interfere in the dispensation of justice.”

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