Court Urged To Quash Criminal Charges


Two men, James Akoyi and Abbey Saka, currently detained in prison custody in respect of a land dispute in which a man was killed, have dragged the Attorney General of Lagos State before an Ikeja High Court.

Other defendants in the suit are Director of Public Prosecution in Lagos State and Solicitor General/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice.

The applicants are not only urging the court to stop further proceeding in the charge preferred against them, but also to strike out the criminal charge filed against them.

In an affidavit sworn to by Comrade Declain Ihekaire and filed before the court by a human rights lawyer, Charles Ebhoman, the deponent averred that the incident giving rise to this case arose over a land dispute in Akesan village in Alimoso Local Government Area of Lagos State as a result of which three people were allegedly killed.

Afer a careful study of the facts as contained in the case file, the Director of Public Prosecution, in a memo dated 22 April, 2009, stated clearly that the case of murder could not be sustained against the applicants.

Contrary to the said opinion of the DPP, the Solicitor General of Lagos State, in his own opinion dated 29 April, 2009, insisted that the applicants must be charged with murder.

Pursuant to the insistence of the Solicitor General, the Director of Public Prosecution, contrary to the opinion earlier expressed, was compelled to issue two different legal advices.

It was later discovered that the investigating police officer in the matter, acting in concert with the family of one of the parties to the land dispite, had done a shoddy and biased investigation with the sole aim of implicating the applicants.

Following this deposition, a human rights organisation, Concerned Human Rights of Nigeria, wrote several petitions to the police to re-investigate the matter so that truth will prevail.

Consequently, the police set up a panel to look into the allegations of biased investigation and upon careful and thorough investigation, the investigating police officer was thoroughly castigated and indicted, while the applicants and other accused were found not to have committed the offence for which they are currently standing trial.

Despite the outcome of the investigation and recommendation, the respondents, particularly the Solicitor General, have failed to issue the necessary legal advice to reflect the current findings of the police.

In view of this, Mr. Ihekaire averred that it will be in the interest of justice to grant the prayers of James Akoyi and Abbey Saka.

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