By James Ogunnaike
ABEOKUTA – A legal Practitioner, Barrister Fazaz Daudu has alleged that two men who were sentenced to three months imprisonment by an Ogun State Magistrate Court sitting in Ota, Ado-Odo-Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State have illegally been released at Abeokuta Correctional Home without completing their jail term.
The legal practitioner in a petition directed to some relevant authorities including the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, title “Corruption in Nigerian Correctional Service, Ogun State Command as warder released convicts without the order of the Court” alleged that the two convicts were released without an order of any court.
The petitioner stated that he was a Solicitor to the Complainant in a case with charge No: MOT/583C/2019, between the Commissioner of Police Vs (1) Mufutau Oguntoyinbo, (2) Oguntoyinbo Idowu,(3) Olamilekan Bankole, (4)Olamilekan Akinola, (5) Moruf Oni.
He said, “the accused persons were arraigned on 13th September 2019 on three counts charge of conspiracy, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and inflicting injuries on the head of one Ahmed Odebode, Adeniran Shola and Abolore Anpitan before Magistrate A.F Ojelade of Court 3, Ota, Ogun State”.
“All the accused were discharged and acquitted on count charge 1”
Daudu added that “On count 2 however, the court convicted 1 (Mufutau Oguntoyinbo) 2nd,(Oguntoyinbo Idowu) and 3rd (Olamilekan Bankole) accused persons to one-month imprisonment each with an option of payment fine in the sum of Thirty thousand Naira, (N30,000.00k) each”.
“Also on count 3, the court convicted the 1st and the 3rd convicts to three months imprisonment without option of fine”.
“Specifically, the Court stated, “the terms of imprisonment shall be observed at the new Abeokuta Correctional Home facilities commencing from the day of delivery of judgment”.
” Shockingly, however, the convicts were taken to the Divisional Police station, Ota, Ogun State for days without being taken to the Correctional Service by the prosecutor/Court orderly. In order to cover up the atrocities, the convicts arranged with prison officers in collaboration with the prosecution to take the convicts to another Correctional Home different from the place ordered by the Court (that is the Nigerian Correctional Service, Ibara, Abeokuta) purposely for soft landing based on the financial arrangement made by the convicts”.
“Apart from the above fact, the Correctional Officers in their usual corruption practices and without the order of the Magistrate Court or High Court, the Correctional Officers released the two convicts back to the Community in less than three weeks at the expense of three months ordered by Magistrate F.A Ojelade in his judgment of 23rd January 2020”.
“I was shocked to receive the complainant’s calls that the convicts came back to the community on the 14th of February, 2020 and did a welcome party by further causing havoc to members of the Community”, the legal practitioner said.
“Also on 17th February 2020, I also saw the convicts at the Court premises where they continue to mock the complainants”.
“As a result, I personally as a counsel, did a search of the Court file through a letter dated 17th February, 2020, where I discovered from no order of their release was granted pending appeal”.
Daudu continued, “to satisfy my curiosity, I visited the New Abeokuta Correctional Service, Oba where I met one Mr Odumosu and also discussed with Mr Sharibu, the Deputy Controller, where I was reliably informed that they have no record of the convicts in their custody”.
Consequent upon the above, I humbly call for thorough investigation of these corruption activities, among others, of the prosecution and the Correctional Officers and if found culpable, all officers involved in this dirty activities should be dismissed from service and possibly prosecuted.
In addition, the convicts based on their manipulation of the system should be returned to the New Correctional Home to serve the sentence as ordered by the Court.
Speaking to with our Correspondent, The Deputy Controller in charge of Ibara Correctional Service, Mr. Onokhowomomo Godwin debunked the allegation of corruption levelled against his men.
His words, “You know the Court people, when the Magistrate, pronounce something, the Court people will write, normally, we don’t show our papers to people, but when you look at the Paper, it said to all Prisons Officers, Abeokuta when Our boys got there, the Police have removed them from the Court to their cells. They would now call us that there is an overnight o, When Our boys got there, they saw the warrant reading Abeokuta,. It did not say New Abeokuta, so they brought them here. I don’t know much about the story, but when they brought the warrant and I saw it, I said okay, this is where the problem lies, If they had written New Abeokuta on the warrant, there is no way they would have brought them here.
On the issue of their release, they went back to that Court, and they appeal on bail, so based on that they were granted bail. So presently, they are on bail, they are still Ex-convict. If at the end of the appeal they lose, they will come back, they will then complete their sentences.