Highlights of the Report —-
- ….. Discontinued criminal trial of Olupelumi Fagboyegun at the Chief Magistrate Court, Owo.
- …….Asked contending parties to settle their grievances by filing civil action in Court or seek alternative dispute Resolution of the case.
3 ……… Invited Ondo State Judicial service Commission to investigate the 3 years delay of the criminal trial of Olupelumi Fagboyegun before the Magistrate Court, Owo.
- ……. Referred the matter to Ondo state House of Assembly for full investigation.
The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State, Sir Charles Titiloye Esq. Ksm has released a report on the findings after investigating the matter thrown up in a viral video against the State’s Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Olanrewaju Akeredolu.
In the video, a middle-aged man, Oluwapelumi Fagboyegun had accused Justice Akeredolu (his alleged step sister) of unlawfully detaining him without trial for three years for entering their father’s property.
Below is the full details of the report released by the Attorney-general Thursday:
On the 15th of February, 2021, one Mr Olupelumi Fagboyegun made public a video wherein he accused the Ondo state Judiciary and the office of Chief Judge of Ondo State of using the Magistrate Court to persecute him unjustly and keep him on trial for a period of 3 years for an offence punishable with 1 year imprisonment.
This video went viral and it attacks the integrity and independence of Courts in Ondo State. It also suggests a connivance of the Prosecution team and the Court in delay of Justice in the matter. I therefore found it necessary as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Ondo State to investigate this allegation.
Consequent upon the above I directed the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to investigate this allegation and review the case file. I interacted with John Dada Joshua Esq, the Counsel from the Department of Public Prosecutions in charge of this case before the Chief Magistrate Court, GRA Owo.
I also interacted with the Chief Registrar of the Ondo State High Court, Mrs. Bolatito Ajibade to hear the version of the Ondo State Judiciary and Chief Judge of Ondo State on this allegation. The Chief Registrar availed us their defence to this allegation. The complainant in the video Clip, Mr. Olupelumi Fagboyegun was not available and could not be reached. The Chief Judge was not in her office on the 17th of February, 2021, when I visited on fact finding mission to the Ondo State High Court and the Protocol officer of the Chief Judge informed me that she has travelled and will not be available in office until 22nd of February, 2021.
Considering the public interest and urgency required in this case, I hereby submit the following as my findings so far from the investigation conducted by the office of Attorney General of Ondo State on this matter.
- The case started on the 15th day of March 2018, through the allegation made by one Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi at the Area Commander’s Office of the Nigeria Police Force, Owo against Mr. Olupelumi Fagboyegun. In his Statement before the Police, he complained that Mr. Olupelumi Fagboyegun locked up JOF Farms, Oke Ogun Owo that was given to him to use through license issued by Hon. Justice O. O. Akeredolu, the Chief Judge of Ondo State.
- That the said complainant also stated that on his complaint to Justice O.O. Akeredolu of the interference of Mr. Olupelumi Fagboyegun who claimed to be the son of Late Rev. Jide Fagboyegun (the father of Justice Akeredolu), Justice Akeredolu directed him to lodge a complaint of impersonation at the Police Station against Olupelumi Fagboyegun. Justice Akeredolu insisted that Olupelumi Fagboyegun is not a son of her father and not a member of Fagboyegun family.
- The Police thereafter arrested Olupelumi Fagboyegun (52 years old as at 2018). In his statement before the Police, he noted that his mother informed him that his real father was Rev. Jide Fagboyegun, the father of Justice O. O. Akeredolu and that he lived abroad and only returned to Nigeria after the death of his Father, Rev. Jide Fagboyegun. That he went to stay at his father’s house at Owo where he was arrested by the Police for forcible entry into his father’s house. That he had met members of Fagboyegun Family and Justice O.O Akeredolu on this issue of his paternity and Justice O.O Akeredolu said he was not a member of their family and had threatened him and his kids.
- The Police, after taking statement from the Complainant, the Defendant and some members of Fagboyegun family charged the Defendant to Court in Suit No MOW/102C/2018 for Forcible entry thereby committing the offence of conduct likely to cause the breach of Peace.
- Olupelumi Fagboyegun was granted bail by the trial Magistrate since he was arraigned on 19th March 2018, and he is still on bail till date. It is untrue that he is under any form of Custody.
- The taking over of prosecution of the case from the Police Prosecutor by the Department of Public Prosecutions on the 31st of July, 2019, was directed by the then Attorney General of Ondo State who was my Predecessor in Office, (that is Mr. Kola Olawoye SAN.)
- That the Department of Public Prosecutions did not brief me of this case on assuming office as the Attorney-General of Ondo State until this video of the Defendant went viral on social media.
- That truly there was a change of Magistrate presiding over this matter on three different occasions. The following Magistrates have presided over the case (1.) S. O. Adedapo, (2) O. Aladeniyi. (3) O. W. Dosunmu and there was once a substitution of charge preferred against the suspect Olupelumi Fagboyegun upon which his plea was taken afresh.
- I also found that the criminal charge of conduct likely to breach peace has no link with the determination of the issue of paternity of Olupelumi Fagboyegun which is a civil action that can be resolved through a DNA test. Intra family scrambling for property of the deceased should not have been criminalized but settled through civil suits and alternative dispute resolution means.
- The trial of a case of Conduct likely to breach peace which is a misdemeanor (simple offence punishable with 1 year imprisonment) regrettably has taken a period of 3 years in a Magistrate Court with summary Jurisdiction.
- Consequent upon the aforementioned facts:
A. The office of Attorney General of Ondo State in exercise of the power conferred upon it by Section 211 of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) hereby discontinues the criminal trial and proceedings against Olupelumi Fagboyegun in Suit No MOW/31C/2020 pending at the Chief Magistrate Court, GRA Owo.
B. Contending parties in this case are advised to seek the resolution of their dispute in the Court through a civil action or other means of alternative dispute resolution available to them.
C. Ondo State Judicial Service Commission is hereby invited to investigate issues relating to the delay in the hearing of this case before the Magistrate Court, Owo for three (3) years, that is 2018 to 2021.
D. This matter is further referred to Ondo State House of Assembly for investigation.
Dated this 18th day of February, 2021