By Abdulwahab Abdulah
A presiding Magistrate in Epe Magisterial division of Lagos State, Mrs. Kikelomo Ayeye has chided the prosecuting police team over their “timidity and shoddy work” which she said has led to the escape of a traditional ruler, Oba Sikiru Odukoya, the Omola of Odomola from being punished for a willful damage of property belonging to one Mrs. Adeola Adebowale.
The Magistrate who convicted two middle-age men, Tayo Adenuga and Tajudeen Sanni, on a two-count charge of conspiracy to commit felony and willful damage of a fence on the property of the applicant, Mrs. Adebowale held that instead of producing the said traditional ruler as a prosecution witness by the police, he supposed to be docked for the alleged criminal offence of willful damage.
Ayeye said in spite of the error committed by the prosecutor, the police was able to convince the court beyond and proved the allegations of conspiracy to commit a felony and willful damage against the two defendants beyond reasonable doubt.
The Magistrate in her judgment held that the traditional ruler “should be in the dock and not a prosecution witness.”
The applicant, Mrs. Adebowale had accused the defendants for unlawful demolition of the fence of her house in Odomola, in Epe local government area of the state and subsequently dragged the respondents before the court.Magistrate Ayeye, in her judgment said that “all prosecution and defence witnesses agreed that Oba S.T.A. Odukoya, the Omola of Odomola gave orders for the demolition of the newly constructed fence of the complainant in the matter”.
Citing a case- Adigun versus AG Oyo State (1987), the court held, “the standard of proof required to justify a conviction is one beyond reasonable doubt, this level of proof is attained when every ingredients which constitute the alleged offences has been proved”.
Also citing the Ojukwu versus Governor of Lagos State(1986) judgment, the Chief Magistrate also said that “no one including the Governor is entitled to take the law into their hands adding that while the laws of Lagos state recognizes the royal status of Oba Odukoya, it does not confer executive authority either to make, execute or enforce the laws of the land.
“His utterances via testimony/evidence in chief in this court showed total lawlessness. Kabiyesi Alayeluwa, there is grace in your palace and out of your palace is disgrace”, she said.