….We Will Appeal Ruling-ESG
Seven persons standing trial over the murder of former Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman in Ekiti state Omolafe Aderiye were on Monday discharged and acquitted by an Ado-Ekiti High Court.
The court judgment laid to rest the over three years celebrated murder case which saw the suspects languishing in prison custody throughout the period.
The defendants had been Adebayo Aderiye, Adeniyi Adedipe, Sola Durodola, Kayode Ajayi, Oso Farotimi, Sola Adenijo and Rotimi Olanbiwonnu who are all members of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC).
Aderiye, who was a political associate of Governor Ayo Fayose, was murdered by unknown gunmen in front of his office at Ijigbo, Ado-Ekiti in Ekiti State on 25, September, 2014 while the case commenced in November of the same year.
When the case came up yesterday, the presiding judge, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye, held that the prosecution failed to prove the complicity of the accused persons in the murder of Aderiye.
The prosecution according to him failed to prove the count of conspiracy to kill the late Aderiye and the count of murder against the seven defendants.
The judge added that the case of the prosecution was not helped by contradictory evidences led its witnesses which he said the court won’t believe.
Ogunmoye faulted the evidence of prosecution witness, Adewale Ibidapo that one Adesokan Adedeji Israel emerged from a Golf Volkswagen car and shot sporadically into the air before firing the shot that killed the late transporter.
According to him, “it is inconceivable that amidst sporadic gunshots, the witness would observe the purported killer(s) as what would be in the mind of the witness was how to escape from the scene hence the court won’t believe Ibidapo’s evidence.
Another witness whose evidence was discountenanced was the third prosecution witness, Gbolahan Okeowo, who, according to the judge, gave “mutually contradictory” evidence.
The judge ruled that, “Inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses has created a doubt. Where two or more witnesses give contradictory evidence, it will be illogical to believe their testimony.
“None of the alibi raised by the defendants was investigated by the police. The evidence of the prosecution failed to bring down the evidence of the defendants.
“The plea of evidence succeeds that the accused were not at the scene of the crime. The prosecution failed to rebut the evidence of the defendants.
“The prosecution has been unable to prove that the death of Chief Omolafe Aderiye was caused by any of the defendants.
“There was nowhere conspiracy can be inferred against any of the defendants. The first to seventh defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted.”
While the defence lawyers, Adetunji Oso, Isaac Omolade, Adeoye Aribasoye, hailed the court for the judgment, the prosecution lawyer, Mohammed Alaaya praised the court for looking at the evidence brought before it.
The judgment triggered jubilation by supporters, friends and family members of the defendants who stormed the court in solidarity with their loved ones.
Meanwhile, the state government, through the Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Kolapo Kolade said it will appeal the ruling.
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