A 26-year-old murder suspect of Oluwaseun Oladapo, on Thursday told an Ikeja High Court, Lagos that he never knew or met Mr Kunle Fadipe. Oladapo, led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Walter Oduagbaka made the claim in his ongoing trial for the July 4, 2014, murder of Fadipe, a prominent Lagos lawyer and human rights activist. The defendant, whose testimony in Yoruba was interpreted into English, told the court that he was watching football at Idiagbon Street, Ifako-Ijaiye, Lagos, on the evening of the incident.
Oladapo, whose residential address was given as No.20, Oladito Street, Fagba, Lagos, said, “when I was through at the viewing centre at 10:25 p.m., it began to rain and I decided to take a shortcut to my house via Harmony Estate. “While passing through Harmony Estate, I was accosted by a group of people demanding my identity card. “They claimed that I had committed an offence and I fought them. They shot my leg which made me lose consciousness and when I regained consciousness, I was at the hospital,’’ he said.
The defendant denied stating in his confessional statement to the police that he took a knife from the late Fadipe’s kitchen and demanded for N500,000 from the deceased and his family. He said, “I did not take a knife from Fadipe’s kitchen neither did I demand N500,000 from the lawyer. “I also did not stab his mother-in-law to death, the police wrote that confessional statement.’’
The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs Idowu Alakija, said that Oladapo during the botched robbery stabbed some of the inhabitants of the house several times leading to the deaths of Fadipe and his mother-in-law Cecelia Owolabi. Alakija, however, disputed Oladapo’s claim. However, during his cross-examination by Alakija, the defendant said he couldn’t remember giving his confessional statement because he was covered in blood and was unaware of his surroundings.
The prosecution had said that Oladapo armed with a kitchen knife and with an intent to rob, gained forceful entry into the home of Fadipe at No. 1, Hamony Estate, Ifako-Ijaiye, Iju, Lagos, at 3 a.m. “Mr Sanni, a member of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), had testified before the court that the defendant was arrested at Fadipe’s home after the members of the family had raised an alarm alerting vigilantes in the neighborhood,” she said.
The defendant also could not give the name of his landlord or give an accurate description of his place of residence. The DPP said “I put it to you Mr Oladapo that you do not reside in Lagos neither do you have an apartment in the area you claimed’’. She asked Oladapo to identify himself in a photograph shown to him and when the defendant positively identified himself, Alakija told the court that the photograph was taken by the police shortly after the deceased was murdered.
“My Lord the defendant is lying and contradicting himself. The picture is of him and was taken at the late Fadipe’s home on the night of the murder. “This is the same Fadipe that had denied ever knowing or meeting while giving his evidence before this court,’’ Alakija said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye adjourned the case to March 11 for continuation of trial.