The principal suspect in the deadly April 5, 2018 robbery attack on banks in Offa, Kwara state, Michael Adikwu, is dead.
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Alhaji Kamaldeen Ajibade (SAN), who led the prosecution at the first hearing of the case by the High court, gave the information to the court, and said he got the information from the police on Tuesday.
Adikwu, first accused in the case, had been charged before the court along with five other suspects. . But when the case came up yesterday, only five of them were present in court. Those present were the second to sixth accused; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran.
Ajibade told the court that, “taking a look at the Case Diary, we discovered that statements had been taken from the first accused. I therefore directed my Director of Public Prosecution, because u noticed that we have only five accused, so I directed the DPP to contact the Force Headquarters. He spoke with one Abba Kyari in my presence and he told us that the first accused person is dead. In the circumstance we are constrained to amend the charge, we therefore seek a short adjournment.”
The accused also informed the court that they were yet to get legal representation because the charges against them were only made available to them on Monday evening.
In a short ruling, Justice Halimat Saleeman said the court took note of the information by the prosecution but that there was no evidence before the court to indicate that the first accused person was dead. The court also noted the need for the second to sixth accused to have legal representation and therefore adjourned the case to Friday November 30, 2018 when the plea of the accused would be taken.
Speaking with newsmen after the session, Ajibade said the state would write the police for evidence to show that the first accused was truly dead as well as the circumstances that surrounded his death.
His words: “We came to court this morning to arraign the accused person in connection with the Offa robbery. We have five accused persons in court. We served theme with the copy of the charge on Monday. They don’t have a legal representation, and as you know this is a capital offence and so there is need for them to get legal representation.
“Second we were informed by the police head quarters that the firs accused person, who happened to be the ring leader as referred to by the police, that he is dead. Normally, his name is on our charge list as the very first accused person. So we have no choice in the circumstance than to amend the charge, to remove his name from the charge sheet. So that made us to request for an adjournment till next week to enable us put our house in order and comer back before the court so that the court can take the plea of the accused persons.”
Asked if his office took steps to verify the circumstances behind the suspect’s purported death, Ajiabde said, “well, it’s not within our own power to query that aspect. I’m sure you listened to the court ruling; the judge made a comment on that; that there is no evidence before her lordship to the effect that the first accused person is dead.
“We will not ignore the fact that we were informed because we will not be prepared to mislead the court. The police have informed us that the first accused person is dead and we have to amend our charge. We have not been given evidence to that effect but we have requested too. We will write them to request evidence to that effect. We will do that today.”