December 2, 2023

Court Discharges Police Officer after a Decade of Incarceration

(L-R)Enejo Gabriel with his counsel, Yusuf Temilola Nurudeen and the Executive Director of Foundation for Public Interest Law and Development

Enejo Gabriel, a police officer was arrested on 2nd of November, 2013, on an allegation of Murder for causing the death of one Azeez Omotosho at Ajisegiri Street, Shogunle, Oshodi, Lagos State while responding to a distress call from the control room of a free for all fight in Oshodi area of Lagos State. 

According to the Mr. Enejo, in response to questions from Hon. Justice Ibironke Harrison, the mob descended on him when he made an attempt to disarm one of the hoodlums involved in the fight. In the process, he was stabbed on his head and sustained injuries. The mob also attempted take his A.K 47 rifle. While he was dragging the rifle with them, the rifle fell and started discharging. It was when he arrived Ikeja Police Station where he was attached that he was informed that Azeez Omotosho died as a result of his engagement at Oshodi. 

He was arrested detained for two hundred and thirty-seven (237) days or seven Months and twenty-five days, that is, from 2nd of November, 2013 to 26th of June, 2014, before he was brought before HIS HONOUR MRS. E.B. DAUDU of the Magistrate Court of Lagos State in the Ebute Metta Magisterial District at Court 6 for a remand proceeding.

Upon his remand on 26th of June, 2014, Mr. Enejo was not brought to court for proper arraignment despite bail applications denied by the High Court of Lagos State, until his Counsel; Yusuf Temilola Nurudeen and the Executive Director of Foundation for Public Interest Law and Development (FPIL&D) filed an application for the enforcement of his fundamental rights on 31st of December, 2021 before the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division. 

Consequently, the Director of Public Prosecution filed information against him on 22nd of August, 2022. He was arraigned before Hon. Justice Harrison on 8th of June, 2023. Considering the longevity of the case, the Court ordered accelerated hearing and gave four (4) dates for the persecution to proof his case. However, the prosecution could not provide any witnesses before the Court for his trial. 

His Counsel Yusuf Temilola Nurudeen made a passionate appeal to the Court to strike out the matter for want of diligent prosecution. He relied on the provisions of Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Section 232 Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Law 2021. 

The Court in its ruling held that since it was evident that the possibilities of the prosecution getting a witness to prove their case is not visible, the Court is constrained to strike out the charge brought against the Defendant and accordingly discharge him. 

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