By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Wife of the former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, Mrs Funke Balogun, has been summoned by a Lagos Chief Magistrate Court to personally appear and serve a letter withdrawing her earlier petition and to also state the reason behind her withdrawal of the case.
Mrs Balogun had caused a petition alleging murder against an estate agent, Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi, his company and one Ajisebutu Munir Adebayo, which led to their arraignment in court.
At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday before Chief Magistrate Ade Awogboro, the Police Prosecutor, Sgt. Peter Nwangwu announced to the court that the complainant had written a letter signify her intention to withdraw the case against the defendants on the ground that some prominent Nigerians have intervened in the matter.
However, the presiding magistrate insisted that the complainant must appear before her and explain why she was ready to forgo the case which trial has already commenced.
The duo of Gbadamosi and Adebayo were arraigned before the court on an eight-count criminal charge of attempted murder, stealing, breach of peace, threatening of life and criminal conspiracy, which they had pleaded not guilty.
The matter took a dramatic turn when the court not only tongue lashed the prosecution for going out of its way to accept the letter out of court proceedings. The Magistrate rejected the letter stating that it did not follow due process.
Magistrate Awogboro, said that â€œnobody is above the lawâ€ adding that Mrs. Funke Balogun should personally come to the court with the letter and exhibit it as well as giving evidence as to why she wanted to withdraw the charges against the duo.
The court noted that the prosecution did not inform the defendants and their Counsel about the development.
To make the matter even more complicated, Lawyer to the defendants, Mr Abioye Akerele insisted on either the conclusion of the case or that the court formally dismiss the charges preferred against his clients rather than a withdrawal.
Further hearing has been fixed for 5th August, 2009.