Seven youths charged with trespass on a private property by the police have beenÂ discharged and acquitted by an Apapa Magistrate’s Court, Lagos, Nigeria.
The youths are Ugochukwu Nwankwo, Uchechukwu Udorji, Thomas Olanipekun, OkeiemuteÂ Onwo, Isaac Shogunle, Mohammed Sanni and Samson. Their release was facilitated byÂ lawyers from Stephen and Solomon Foundation, a free legal unit in the chambers ofÂ Chief Gabriel Giwa-Amu, with the assistance of members of the Knights of St.Â Mulumba, Lekki sub council.
The foundation also succeeded in securing freedom for Justina Agbojule, an allegedÂ commercial sex worker who was discharged by the Tapa Magistrate’s Court, LagosÂ Island.
The youths have been standing trial since 22 October, 2010 when they were charged toÂ court for entering ENL Terminal at Apapa Port without a port pass and therebyÂ committing an offence punishable under Section 502 of the Criminal Code, Cap.C.17,Â Vol.11, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria.
Agbojule was accused of trading her body for money at a brothel where she wasÂ arrested by the police. The accusation was however found to be false by the courtÂ which discovered that Agbojule was coming from her uncle’s place when she wasÂ arrested by the police at a junction, and charged to court for prostitution.
Her arraignment in court, P.M.NEWS gathered, followed her refusal to pay N25,000Â demanded as bribe by the police.
Their defence counsel, Mrs. B.O. Osawaru from Stephen and Solomon Foundation pleadedÂ with the court to release them because the prosecution has failed to prove beyondÂ reasonable doubt the allegations levelled against them.
The acquitted youths thanked the Knights of St. Mulumba and Stephen and SolomonÂ after their release.
â€œWe are indeed grateful to the Knights of St. Mulumba and Stephen and SolomonÂ Foundation for securing our freedom. We did not pay any money and they gave us allÂ the support we needed. They were with us until we were freed. If not for them, weÂ will still be languishing in prison,â€ one of them, Nwankwo said.