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Awaiting trial inmate’s mother laments son’s six-year incarceration

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An inmate of the Kirikiri Correctional Centre, Chidozie Ajokugi, has been languishing in the facility without trial for six years.

His mother, Modupe, who disclosed this to us, said efforts by the family to get the authorities to act on the matter had proved abortive even after the complainant absolved him of blame in the matter that brought him to the centre.

It was learnt that Chidozie went to charge his laptop in his friend landlord’s apartment at the Abati area of Lagos sometime in 2014, and while waiting for the device to be fully charged, operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad stormed the house and arrested him and others, claiming that they were suspects in the case of a stolen car.

However, the owner of the car was said to have absolved the 26-year-old Chidozie and his friend, Prosper, claiming that the landlord, one Raheem Oloriebi, was the culprit.

But the police allegedly refused to release Chidozie and Prosper even after they were absolved.

Modupe, told our correspondent that the police demanded N5m for bail, after accusing Chidozie of being an Internet fraudster.

She said, “Raheem allegedly attacked one Mr Omodele at gunpoint and snatched his car; he took the car to a mechanic to sell for him, but the police saw it at the mechanic’s workshop and when they asked the mechanic, who owned of the car, he told them that he was the owner and he was arrested.

“When he discovered that the car was stolen, he confessed that it was Raheem, who brought it to his workshop to sell, so the police came to arrest Raheem; unfortunately, my son was inside his apartment charging his laptop when the police came and he and Prosper were arrested alongside with Raheem.

“Mr Omodele told the police that Chidozie and Prosper were not the ones, who robbed him, but the police refused to release them; even Raheem told the police that Chidozie and Prosper knew nothing about the robbery. My son is a graphic artist and when the police checked his laptop and saw some designs, they labelled him an Internet fraudster and asked us to bail him with N5m, but when we could not raise the money, he was charged alongside others for armed robbery.

“Since when they were arraigned in 2014, nothing has been done on the matter except in 2015 when the complainant came to testify at the Igbosere High Court that Chidozie and Prosper were not among those who robbed him.

“The case has been adjourned several times and my son has been languishing in the prison for six years for a sin he did not commit. I want justice; my son has spent the better part of his life in prison and we want all relevant authorities to come to our aid.”

When contacted, the Lagos State Ministry of Justice stated that the trial was ongoing.

A statement by the ministry’s Director of Public Affairs, Kayode Oyekanmi, read, “Our attention has been drawn to the above post and we deem it necessary to state the correct position and status of this case. The defendant was charged alongside four others for the offences of conspiracy to commit robbery and armed robbery.

“The matter is being prosecuted by the Directorate of Public Prosecutions and the trial is ongoing at the high court. Contrary to the claim, the defendant has at all material time in the proceedings been represented by a lawyer and has been present in court; the last adjourned date, being February 2020. The matter was adjourned for the continuation of trial. We assure the public of our commitment to serving the people of Lagos State and promoting access to justice.

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