Adeola Badru – Ibadan
The Oyo State High Court on Thursday discharged and acquitted the immediate-past Chief Whip of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Olafisoye Akinmoyede, of complicity in the murder of a federal lawmaker, Mr. Temitope Olatoye, known as Sugar.
Olatoye was killed during the March 9, 2019 governorship and House of Assembly elections at Alape village, Ibadan, where he had gone to cast his vote.
The slain lawmaker was a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly between 2011 and 2015.
He also elected into the House of Representatives in 2015.
The police, after the incident, arrested Akinmoyede and three other persons as masterminds of the killing and arraigned them for murder.
But, Akinmoyede, fondly called Lafi, alongside the other three suspects – Rafiu Adebayo, Rasheed Oladele, and Kazeem Ayinde – were all set free by the court on Thursday.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. M.A. Ojeah, who represented the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, had filed a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder against Akinmoyede and the three other persons.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges when it was read to them.
Delivering the judgment, Justice Ademola Adegbola, discharged and acquitted the accused, saying the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
He said the prosecution was unable to prove that the accused persons were the ones that shot the deceased.
Justice Adegbola said: “In my view, taking together the charges filed against the four defendants, the prosecution has not established any nexus to connect any of the four defendants to the offences with regard to the murder of Olatoye Temitope Sugar. I, therefore, hold that the prosecution has not proved any of the ingredients relating to the two charges against the four defendants.”
“The prosecution failed totally to prove any of the ingredients of the two charges preferred against the accused persons. It will amount to turning on the defendants to prove their innocence, which is not a requirement of the Nigeria Criminal Justice System. In fact, doing so contravenes the constitutional rights of the four defendants, Section 36(5) of the 1999 constitution (as amended).”