By AbdulWahab Abdulah
LAGOSâ€”Muyideen Alayande, son of Alhaji Rasheed Alayande, alleged to have been killedÂ for ritual purposes, surfaced before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court, yesterday, maintaining that he was never murdered for any ritual as alleged.
He, however, described the circulated photograph insinuating that he was used for rituals as ”a manipulated photo trick.”
Muyideen, 15, disclosed this while testifying before Magistrate Badejo Okusanya, in Lagos, at the continuation of the trial of his father, Alhaji Alayande, who was arraigned with one Steve Chinua Ogwu.
In the witness box, heÂ told the court that he was only told by his father while he was being taken to the bush -alleged to be a shrine- that they were going to shoot a film.
Rasheed Alayande is answering a four-count charge of conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretence and stealing with Steve Chinua-Ogwu.
They were accused of swindling Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka, wife of Mr. Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard Newspapers of N4 million under false pretence.
Led in evidence by the police prosecutor, Mr. Romanus Inuigbe,Â Muyideen said: â€œOn the said date, my father told me to follow him to a place in Ikorodu to act a film. When we got there, he said I should kneel down, while he brought out a cloth, tied it on my face.
Thereafter, he poured some cow blood on my body and my cloth, later he asked me to stand up.â€
Asked whether his father was ever involved in film production, he retorted, â€œ My father is a film producer.Â He has produced several films including â€œAtofarati, Sheila and host of others. The said film I participated in was shot in the bush and many people were there.â€
Muyideen debunks father’s claim
Confronted with the photographs of alleged ritual murder of where he was purportedly killed, the boy admitted he was the one in the pictures, but denied ever being murdered.
He declared that all the photographs were make-up pictures to look like ritual murder.
â€œI observed the photographs, the images are mine. I was not sacrificed, all what I observed was that there was computer editing.â€
Under cross-examination by counsel representing the defendants, Messrs A. Giwa-Amu and Olu Okunniyi respectively, MuyideenÂ admitted not knowing the title of the film shot by his father, addingÂ that he only went with his father for film shooting only once.
At the proceeding yesterday, a senior police officer, Mr. Onyeagoro Chijioke Ebere, who was the leader of the team of detectives that investigated the case, also told the court how the defendants were arrested and investigated.
He disclosed that at the end of their investigation, it was discovered that the accused persons and some policemen conspired to swindle Mrs. Amuka to the tune of N4 million.Mr. Ebere, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, narrated that his team found out during their investigations that the defendants only conspired with some people at large to commit â€œconspiracy, to wit- felony and obtaining money under false pretence. Investigations also revealed that N4 million was received from Mrs. Oyindamola Amuka with false pretence.â€
In his evidence before the court, Ebere said, â€œThat time, I was O/C Human Rights Section, referred to asÂ D12.Â Â On 21/7/2007, a case of conduct likely to cause public peace and defamation of character was transferred from Kirikiri Police Station to Panti, for further investigation. Also transferred that day was Steve Chinua Ogwu, the first defendant.
”I looked at the file, I saw that the complainant, Mr. Sam Amuka, told the police that one Steve Chinua-Ogwu, who introduced himself as journalist brought some photographs which were terrific, terrible and obnoxious.
”In the photographs, he said his wife was shown to be involved in ritual murder. Following this, Mr. Sam Amuka said Steve Chinua-Ogwu demanded some monetary reward for him not to publish the pictures in Pointblank news, else, he will publish it and it will be scandalous, portraying his wife as a ritualist..
â€œAt that point, Steve was re-arrested and cautioned where he volunteeredÂ statements to the police. He said the photographs were given to him by one SP Babatunde Jonathan in charge of P13, Section, Panti.
”In brief, he told me that they were given N4m from which they gave him N 100,000.Â We investigated the matter and interviewed the suspects. Our investigation revealed that Steve Chinua-OgwuÂ received N200,000 and the second defendant, Alhaji Alayande, received N2m.
The second defendant returned the N2m received, while the first defendant returned N100,000 and SP Babatunde Jonathan returned N 400,000.â€
He said he was the head of the team that investigated the case with one Supol Hope and that all the defendants confessed receiving money from Mrs. Amuka. He said he left the case when he was transferred out of Lagos by the police.
Muyideen not killed, alive, say Police
He added that, â€œInitially, the case was like a ritual murder, but after thorough investigation, the boy purportedly to have been killed for ritual was alive. I sought for the boy and he was brought by his father accompanied by his mother.
Then we took his photograph and he made statement that his father is a film producer and on that day he was used for film production.
Mr. Ebere, when cross-examined, said he personally interviewed Mrs. Amuka contrary to the argument that the woman was never interviewed by the investigative team.
Further hearing in the case has been adjourned till February 5.