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Court Acquits Man Of Armed Robbery Charge After Spending Five Years In Kirikiri Maximum Prison

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An Igbosere High Court in Lagos State on Tuesday discharged and acquitted a man, Jelili Dimeji, of a four-count armed robbery charge brought against him five years ago.

The Lagos State Government had accused Dimeji of robbing some valuables from an apartment in Ikotun in 2015.

In her judgment during virtual proceedings, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye held that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Justice Ipaye held: “The alleged confessional statement was never placed before the court as an exhibit.

“I must hold that the prosecution’s failure to place the confessional statement before the court is fatal to its case.

“The mere fact that the Investigating Police Officer testified that the defendant confessed cannot be taken as the gospel truth without some other hard evidence before the court.”

The judge said there was no cogent identification evidence before the court as Desmond Usman, the alleged victim of the October 7, 2015 robbery, failed to come to court to testify and identify Dimeji as one of the perpetrators of the crime.

She also noted that Sergeant James Irom, the IPO, and first prosecution witness, also failed to tender allegedly recovered weapons, while testifying before the court.

Ipaye held: “As an 18th Century English jurist stated, it is better than 10 guilty persons escape than one innocent suffers.

“Accordingly, I find and hold that the prosecution has failed to establish beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant, Jelili Dimeji, was one of those who carried out the robbery, which took place at about 3am on October 7, 2015, at 28, Dele Ara Street, Ikotun, Lagos.

“I so hold.

“Having failed to establish the substantive charge of armed robbery against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, I find and hold that the prosecution has also not sustained the ancillary charge of conspiracy.

“I, therefore, find you Jelili Dimeji not guilty of the charges as contained in counts one to four of the information dated March 3, 2017.

“You are hereby discharged and acquitted.”

Following Dimeji’s acquittal, defense counsel, Pamela Okoroigwe, thanked the court for the judgment.

Reacting to the judgment, the lead prosecution counsel, Akin George, said: “I salute the wonderful wisdom of my lord, we have been robbed of vital witnesses as a result of the delay in investigations.

“My lord will note that this crime occurred in 2015.

“We did not start prosecuting in the high court until two years after, in 2017, and many of our vital witnesses were unavailable.”

NAN reports that Dimeji was charged with conspiracy and armed robbery contrary to Sections 297 and 299 of the Criminal Law of Lagos, 2015.

He was alleged to have committed the offenses alongside four others at large.

The prosecution said: “The defendant and his accomplices at about 3am on October 7, 2015, at No. 28, Dele Ara Street, Ikotun, Lagos, while armed with dangerous weapons, robbed one Oladipo Adu of a cash sum of N300,000 and jewelry.

“They also robbed one Desmond Usman of his laptop and mobile phones.”

During the trial, two witnesses – the IPO and Chidiogo Michael, the landlord of the property where the alleged theft occurred – testified for the prosecution, while the defendant and his father testified for the defense.

Dimeji while testifying on February 26, 2019, said he was on his way to a motor park to head to Ifo in Ogun State to see his wife, who had just been delivered of a baby when he was accosted by a vigilance group who claimed he was a member of a gang of robbers which robbed nearby residential premises.

According to him, he did not partake in the armed robbery but was arrested, taken into custody, and was remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Correctional Centre.

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APC Planning To Disown President Buhari, Will Change Name Before 2023 —- PDP Alleges

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has claimed that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is plotting to disown President Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the 2023 elections.

The PDP made this allegation in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Saturday.

According to him, the ruling party had begun campaigns for the 2023 general election one year into Buhari’s tenure.

PDP also claimed APC might change their name before the next poll.

“The PDP asserts that there are underground moves by APC leaders to disown the Buhari administration, given its failures; the conversation about a possible change of their party’s name as well as the plot to destabilize the PDP, are signs of desperation to hold on to power despite APC’s failures and explicit rejection by Nigerians.

“Our party and indeed discerning Nigerians have seen through the rambling of the APC, which is merely raising dust to foul the political firmament in a bid to cover for its lack of internal cohesion, failure in governance and reneging on the promises they made to Nigerians in other to have access to power,” the statement read in part.

 

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Lagos Task Force Destroys 1,700 Illegal Shanties, Recovers Illegal Substances At Agege

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Operatives of the Lagos State Environmental and Special Offences Unit on Sunday said it demolished over 1,700 illegal shanties and containerized shops around Fagba Railway lines, Agege.

During the demolition exercise, the state enforcement team was said to have seized illegal drugs found in the structures and machetes used by hoodlums to often terrorize residents of Fagba, Iju-Ishaga, and Pen-Cinema.

It was gathered that the occupants of the structures were served a 7-day Removal Order and another 21-day grace to aid removal of their structures and vacate the premises.

The Chairman of the Agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, disclosed that in spite of the notices, the owners/ occupants of the affected shanties and containerized shops refused to leave until the team arrived and pulled them down.

Egbeyemi, in a statement made available to The Guild by Head, Public Affairs Unit for the agency, Adebayo Taofiq, on Sunday, stated that the state government served the notices after receiving series of complaints from residents especially those that have been dispossessed of their belongings, on the criminal activities around the axis.

He said: “The illegal shanties and containerized shops were occupied by miscreants and hoodlums that often terrorized innocent citizens around Fagba, Iju-Ishaga, and Pen-Cinema area, dispossessing residents of their valuables, especially early in the day and late at night”.

Egbeyemi further disclosed that investigations conducted on the axis revealed that the miscreants occupying these illegal shanties were responsible for the destructions of public properties and looting of shops immediately after the recent ‘EndSARS’ protest around Agege.

“It was an eyesore with hoodlums freely smoking and selling Indian hemp including prostitution by under-age boys and girls around Fagba railway lines”, he added.

The Chairman confirmed that illicit drugs such as Codeine, Skunk, and Tramadol as well as Indian hemp were seized during the demolition exercise.

Egbeyemi, however, enjoined members of the public to support the government in salvaging the state from the clutches of these notorious criminals by reporting any noticeable activities within their communities to security agencies.

 

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2023:PDP Inaugurates 6-Member Committee To Woo APC Governors, Lawmakers

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The national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party has appointed a six-member committee to woo governors and lawmakers from the All Progressives Congress into its fold, Sunday PUNCH is reporting.

It was gathered that the PDP, in reaction to the defection of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State to the APC, set up the National Reconciliation Committee, which was saddled with the responsibility of persuading members of the APC to join the opposition.

The committee, which is headed by a former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, also includes former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim; former Governors Liyel Imoke (Cross River), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe); and former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mulikat Akande.

National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbodiyan, had in a tweet via the official Twitter account of the PDP, on Monday evening, announced the composition of the Saraki-led committee.

However, sources within the party informed our correspondent that the national leadership of the party had directed Saraki and members of his committee to scout for members within the ruling party.

One of the sources, who is a member of the National Working Committee of the party, told Sunday PUNCH that the PDP was planning to “harvest some governors” and lawmakers from the APC, adding that there were members of the ruling party who had contacted the PDP for possible defection. He stated that the APC was aware of the plan but that it had quickly asked Umahi to defect from the PDP to send a signal that the former ruling party was no longer attractive.

The source said, “We knew their game. They knew that their members, including governors, members of the National Assembly, and lawmakers at the state level, were contemplating joining us. That’s why they rushed to Umahi, asking him to defect quickly.

“They promised him that they would hand over the state (APC) chapter. That was why the party quickly dissolved the Ebonyi State chapter and picked a serving commissioner as acting chairman.”

The PDP NWC, at its meeting on Monday evening, was said to have also deliberated on the strategy aimed at repositioning the party ahead of the 2023 elections.

It was gathered that the six-party members saddled with the responsibility of poaching from the APC were also asked to approach “those who had stopped participating in political party affairs in the country or their respective states but are still respected for their views.”

When contacted, the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, described the assignments handed over to the Saraki-led committee as “multi-dimensional.”

He said, “The committee is free to add any other job to its assignment. We want it to reconcile people at all levels. They are also free to talk to those who want to either return to the PDP or even defect to our party.

“I want to tell you that we have large numbers of lawmakers, both at the national and state levels, who are willing to join us. Also, there are some governors who are already talking to us. We just don’t like making noise about what we are doing. I wonder how this information also got to you. But in any case, we are not sleeping.

“If we had won elections in states such as Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Edo, Oyo, Sokoto, and Zamfara from the opposition without making a noise, I can assure you that we are going to do more positive things that will surprise many.”

In a related development, a former presidential aide, Dr Umar Ardo, called on the incumbent Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, to declare the seat of Senator Elisha Abbo vacant, following the senator’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Abbo, who claimed that he left the PDP for the APC because of his 2023 governorship ambition in Adamawa State, had also accused the state governor, Ahmadu Fintiri, of not running the party well.

But Ardo, in a message titled ‘Don’t imperil our democracy’ and sent to one of our correspondents, said Lawan owed Nigerians the right to declare the seat of the senator vacant.

He said, “Given the expressed provision of Section 68(1)(g)of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), and the clear interpretation of this provision by the Supreme Court, the President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, owes the Nigerian state the inalienable duty to declare Senator Elisa Abbos’s seat vacant, in deference to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as a consequence of the latter’s defection from the PDP to the APC.

Meanwhile, the PDP has paid Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State a visit at the Government House, Enugu to probably stop him from an alleged plan to defect to the APC.

It was gathered that the Friday visit, led by the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and ex-Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was to reassure Ugwuanyi that the party remained committed to being fair to all sections of the country and individual members in their determination to seek political positions through its platform.

 

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