6 February 2013

Nigeria: Technicalities Stop Arraignment of Cynthia's Alleged Killers

Photo: Vanguard
Cynthia Osokogu

Lagos — Efforts by Lagos State Attorney-General, Mr. Ade Ipaye, to formally arraign suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu allegedly killed by her Facebook friends in a hotel in Festac, Lagos, hit brick walls, yesterday, as the court adjourned their arraignment at the request of the accused persons' lawyer.

The Nasarawa State-born lady who was a daughter of Major General Frank Osokogu (rtd), was killed in Lagos last year after she was allegedly drugged by her assailants.

However, an attempt by the state government to dock the four suspects at the high court before Justice Olabisi Akinlade was frustrated by counsel representing two of the accused persons who informed the court that the office of the AG failed to include statement of one of the accused in the proof of evidence only served on them yesterday.

They accused the state of trying to ambush them by only serving them with the proof of evidence in court, and that the statement of one of the defendants was not also included.

Earlier, a counsel representing the second defendant, Ezike Chidera Olisaeloka, Olukayode Dada, had requested the court to put the defendants arraignment on hold, stating that they have already been adjudged as criminals without formal trial through the media.

He, therefore, requested that the court should suspend their arraignment till a later date.

However, the application was opposed by the Lagos State Attorney-General, who personally appeared in court to prosecute the matter.

The AG argued that it was never part of the Nigerian law to request a push over of arraignment of murder suspects under the pretence that they have been publicised in the media.

This made the trial judge to over rule them, preparing the stage for their arraignment. But this was frustrated as the defendants' lawyer insisted that they could not go on with the arraignment, unless they got the statement they requested.

The prosecution team led by the Attorney General, Mr. Ade Ipaye admitted to the mix up in serving the processes to one of the defence counsel but promised to immediately resolve the issue.

The presiding judge, Justice Olabisi Akinlade, subsequently, adjourned the matter to February 8, 2013 for trial.

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