Daramola, Omojola's families petition NJC, presidency, others over alleged manipulation of murder trial - Trends and Politics

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Daramola, Omojola's families petition NJC, presidency, others over alleged manipulation of murder trial

A Non-Governmental Organisation, The Integrity Leadership, has petitioned the National Judicial Council (NJC) over alleged manipulation of the trial of the suspects arrested in the murder of the World Bank consultant, the late Dr Ayodeji Daramola, and the late Tunde Omojola, during Governor Ayodele Fayose's administration between 2005 and 2006 in Ekiti State.
Daramola was murdered in Ijan-Ekiti on August14, 2006 while Omojola was killed during 2005 councillorship election crisis in Ifaki-Ekiti.
In a petition dated June 16, 2017  signed by its Ekiti State Coordinator, Lekan Oyediran, and received in the office of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, on June 23, 2017,  the group said it was writing on behalf of the families of the two deceased men who were murdered during political crises arising from Ekiti State governorship and councillorship contests in the state.
It pointed NJC's attention to reports of alleged manipulation in the consolidated murder trial of  Daramola and Omojola in the Ekiti State High Court, Ado-Ekiti, in an alleged connivance of the governor with a section of the judiciary to save the suspects in the murder.

The petition said Fayose was reported in the media between 2005 and 2006 as always harassing Daramola over his governorship ambition that allegedly threatened the governor's second term ambition after PDP leaders, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, "had endorsed Daramola after public opinions convinced PDP leaders that Fayose was not sellable again after alleged poultry project fraud, attacks on the opposition and unprecedented general insecurity in the state exacerbated by the activities of an alleged Fayose's killer squad as confirmed by SSS Report".
It added that after Fayose's alleged serial threats became unbearable for Daramola, he sought Ekiti monarchs' intervention and police protection, which was granted, but police personnel were never sent to his Ijan-Ekiti and Lagos homes to protect him.
"After serial threats to his life that forced Daramola to run to Ekiti State traditional rulers to save him from Fayose's threats, he was assassinated on August 14, 2006, at his Ijan-Ekiti home," the petition said, noting that after the murder, Fayose's personal aides, including Dayo Okondo and Goke Olatunji, were named by the arrested suspects as those who allegedly hired them to murder the World Bank consultant.
The petition, also copied to the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo; IGP Ibrahim Idris and Director General of the Department of State Service (DSS), Lawal Daura, including the Chief Judge of Ekiti State, Mr Justice Ayodeji Daramola,  pointed out that mid last year, precisely on June 8, 2016, an online publication broke the news of alleged criminal conspiracy to manipulate Daramola and Omojola's murder trial records after the governor allegedly stumbled on the murder investigation records in the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ajayi Owoseni, and allegedly moved to close the consolidated case through dismissal.
It alleged that the case was secretly filed by the government without the knowledge of the families of the deceased who were the chief complainants and petitioners to the government over the murders.
It also added that the alleged secret trial in which "the chief suspect is also the chief prosecutor" had earlier been concluded with the court striking out the case for want of diligent prosecution, explaining that it was when the case was allegedly being relisted secretly for a fresh hearing for outright dismissal that "an outraged whistle-blower" leaked the plot to an NGO which in turn leaked the alleged plot to an online publication that blew  open the alleged secret trial in the courtroom of Justice Adewale Fowowe in the suit filed by one Kunle Adetowubo &Co dated June 28, 2016 in the suit with charge No HAD/2c/ 2007 in the Motion on Notice No HAD/71cm/2016 between the State Government and complainants brought under Motion on Notice pursuant to Section 56 of the Ekiti State Administration of Criminal Justice Law 2014 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
The petitioners alleged that in the course of trial, the publication said efforts were made to procure fake authors of the two petitions to appear in court to recant on their earlier claims  and to change their pleas that the petitions were written by Fayose's enemies to maliciously implicate the governor and his aides.
It added: "On 16th June, 2017, the same publication did a follow-up to its earlier story, giving details of impersonators purportedly from Ijan-Ekiti and Ifaki-Ekiti that were to appear in court to claim that they were the writers of the petitions, but they were to claim that those petitions were written by Fayose's enemies under duress to implicate the governor and his aides.
"During a discreet investigation by the online publication, the list of the impersonators was exclusively obtained allegedly from the office of the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Ajayi Owoseni."
It added that 11 alleged fake witnesses were listed from Ifaki-Ekiti home country of Omojola while six were listed to come from Ijan-Ekiti, Daramola's home town.
It said that upon further investigations in Ijan-Ekiti and Ifaki-Ekiti, it was discovered none of the witnesses was aware of any hearing of the murder case in court.
"In the entire Ijan-Ekiti, there was nobody bearing Kehinde Femi living at 6, Ikota Street, as the house was fully rented out to strangers, according to the online publication.
"It also reported that there was nobody bearing Edward Kehinde living in Dr Daramola's house adjacent to Ujilogun Grammar School, as the house had been rented out to a sports club called Phoenix Athletic Sports Club and a football academy that conducts football coaching for Ekiti youths.
"In Ifaki-Ekiti, Suleiman Bakare, Omojola's brother-in-law and a banker living in Lagos, who is the authentic author of the petition on the murder of Omojola, and who is also a purported witness listed  as living at P7, Ona Oja St, Ifaki-Ekiti, said he was not aware that he was a witness in the trial.
"It is the same denial by another purported witness, Sule Aliru Olatunji, who was put in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper report in 2007 with his photograph by alleged Fayose's men as having disowned his earlier statement in order to exonerate the governor only for Aliru to renounce the publication as a fraud to save the suspects in the murder case.
"It was also discovered in Ifaki that witness Number Four in the alleged witness list, Suleiman Labaika of Ilero Quarters, Ifaki-Ekiti, was Suleiman Bakare's brother and in fact was the councillorship candidate in the ill-fated election. Labaika knew nothing about the list and in fact he was not aware that a trial is ongoing in Omojola's murder.
"The same with Osenatu‎ Suleiman, mother of both Bakare and Labaika, who knew nothing about the ongoing trial, while Ogunleye Akeem, Suleiman Bakare's nephew, would be hearing about the trial for the first time."
The petitions also pointed the attention of the NJC to the inherent travesty of justice in a murder trial in which the chief suspect is also the chief prosecutor in a trial that the families of the deceased, who are also the chief complainants and petitioners, were kept in the dark.
They urged NJC to step into the matter to stop what it called "a threat to  criminal justice system and administration of justice",  and that the matter must be  investigated to ensure justice for the victims of political killings in Ekiti State between 2005 and 2006.

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