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» » COURT FREES LAGOS BUSINESSMAN OF TRUMPED UP MURDER AND ARMED ROBBERY CHARGES
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The Chief Magistrate’s Court, Igbosere, Lagos, has set free Lagos businessman and frontline industrialist, Chief Felix Ezeamama, of criminal charges of alleged armed robbery and attempted murder. Chief Ezeamama was brought before the Magistrate Court on May 31, 2017, for an order of remand in prison custody, by the Commissioner of Police, through the SCID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos.

It was alleged in the application for remand that Chief Ezeamama attempted to kill one Hajiya Halima Mohammed and that he also robbed her of valuables worth millions of Naira. Chief Ezeamama was promptly remanded in prison custody. Chief Ezeamama has been locked in a property dispute with Hajiya Abubakar, over the land and building situate and being at No.41, Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which was lawfully acquired from the resident beneficiaries, through the Presidential Implementation Committee on Federal Government Houses.

Subsequently, Chief Ezeamama applied to the High Court of Lagos State, through eminent lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa Esq, to be granted bail. The police was duly served with the said application to which they filed a counter-affidavit. After taking arguments from counsel on June 20, 2017, the Hon Justice A.M. Lawal granted bail to Chief Ezeamama with two sureties and also directed him to deposit his international passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court.

 The police also forwarded the case file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, for advice. After reviewing the case file, the DPP gave an opinion that no case of attempted murder or armed robbery was made out against Chief Ezeamama, who had in the meantime spent several days on remand at Ikoyi Prisons, for these trumped up charges.

When the case came up today July 4, 2017, at the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, who represented Chief Ezeamama, moved the court to strike out the remand proceedings in view of the advice from the office of the DPP and also the order of the High Court granting bail to Chief Ezeamama. Mr. Cyril Ejiofor, Esq, who represented the police, vehemently opposed the application to strike out the case, insisting that the police was now willing to file fresh charges against Chief Ezeamama.

In her ruling, Chief Magistrate A.M. Komolafe, reviewed the facts of the case and stated that since the High Court has already assumed jurisdiction over the case, the Magistrate Court could not be conducting concurrent proceedings with the High Court. She then struck out the case against Chief Ezeamama.

While commenting on the case after the court proceedings, Mr. Adegboruwa stated that this particular case has shown the defect and monstrosity in the various laws permitting the remand of citizens without a formal charge, which is being abused by various law enforcement agencies, to punish innocent citizens, such as in this case, where a dispute over property was elevated to armed robbery and attempted murder, leading to the remand of the defendant in prison custody.

“I urge our legislators to set the tone for the removal of all repressive laws that seem to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights, especially now that it is crystal clear that the law enforcement agencies are abusing these processes, to punich people unjustly, even in civil cases of landlord and tenant, husband and wife, dispute on land and contract.

No sovereign nation should retain in its laws, any provision that has the capacity of abrogating the liberty of its citizens without due process or trial. Considering that awaiting trial cases are very rampart in our prisons, it is most desirable that these obnoxious legislations be struck down, in order to decongest the prisons and indeed the courts.”

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