By Onozure Dania
A legal practitioner Mr Gerald Chukwudike, in the ongoing trial of alleged armed robbers and murders yesterday, narrated how he was beaten and macheted by a father, Lateef Olarinde, his two sons Lateef Yusuf Olarinde, Sanni Olarinde and two others before a Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere.
The defendants Lateef Yusuf Olarinde, Lateef Olarinde, Sanni Olarinde, Ayomide Babtunde Lateef and Kazeem Sadiku, are standing trial before Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Igihile.
They are facing 10 count charge bordering on conspiracy, robbery, armed robbery, grievous harm, unlawful take over of landed property, murder and unlawful possession of firearms, filed against them by Lagos state government.
Lagos State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, told the court that the defendants and others still at large, committed the offences, while armed with guns and other dangerous weapons.
Onigbanjo said that the offences occurred between January 29, 2018, and July 18, 2020, at 468, Old Ojo Road, Satellite Town, Lagos.
The offences are contrary to and punishable under Sections 299, 297 (2) (a) 245, 233, 2(3) 298 (3) 4, of the Criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge. Chukwudike, who is the first prosecution witness told the court that on the day of the incident, he was with his client at his office, at 468, old Ojo road Abule-Ado Satellite Town, when suddenly the defendants particularly Lateef Olarinde, his sons and others, accompanied by Street Ochins brandished guns of different types and machetes of different types.
The witness who was led in evidence by Lagos State Attorney – General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo SAN, told Justice Okikiolu-Igihile, that the defendants started shooting sporadically into the air for over an hour, as his client Mr Cosmos Madueke, could not raise the huge sum Lateef and his sons demanded, they beat them up severely.
He said that he wrote 15 petitions concerning the case but that on the day of the incident, he wrote three petitions, to the Divisional Police Officer of Satellite Town, the second was addressed to DPO Festac Town and the third addressed to Area Command area E, Ikeja.
” All the petitions were received and acknowledged, which stated all the things that happened on that day. I waited for some days, looking out for what will happen. Then I wrote another letter to governor Akinwunmi Ambode”, He said.
Chukwudike said, ” It was when I wrote the last petition, to DCP, Salami, in Panti, that was the armed Policemen, were deployed to investigate my client’s premises, no sooner as they arrived the defendants on citing the policemen, summoned over 50 hoodlums, and beseeched the premises, with more dangerous weapons and overpowered the policemen”.
” They did not only overpower them, but they also disarmed the Policemen of their weapons, one of the Policemen that was disarmed, Inspector Samuel, is still serving jail term in Kirikiri, but they were also beaten up, I was forcefully abducted to the house of Lateef Olarinde, in a greenhouse opposite my client’s office,” the witness said.
He said ” At that time, I saw my his client in the pool of his blood, helpless because Yusuf Olarinde has smashed his head with the butt of his rifle. I was severely wounded, macheted and beaten up, I was forcefully imprisoned for 30 minutes before I saw the Satellite and Festac DPO”.
” I was very surprised that day that no arrest was made, it now looked like they were above the law. I went to Agboju Police Station and I was given a referral to a government hospital where I went to treat my self, the medical report can speak for its self”.
Chukwudike, further stated that he waited for an action to be taken, but that nothing happened, he then wrote to the Inspector General of Police, he wrote again to the DPO area Command area E, twice, he wrote to the director of state security service DSS and then to governor Babajide Sanuwo-Olu.
He said, ” As I was waiting for the action to take place, the defendants dispossessed my client of his property with the certificate of occupancy, C.of O, they turned that place to their criminal base”.
” My client Cosmos Madueke was flown outside the country because of the injuries he has on his body and he is unable to work. Up till now, he is yet to walk. When I noticed that they turned his property to their criminal hideout, I wrote the chairman of land grabbers thrice,” The witness added.
The AG, however, asked for an adjournment to enable him, tender the medical report, before the court.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Mr Lekan Egberungbe, who said he had made efforts that the defendants should be remanded at the Correctional Facility, informed the court that the defendants told him that two people died in their cell.
Egberungbe said, ” The defendants, told me this afternoon, just before the proceedings started that two people died in their cell between yesterday and this morning, their lives are also at stake here”.
In his response Onigbanjo SAN, said the correctional centres have refused to admit defendants if they don’t have a negative result of the Covid- 19 test, people are waiting for the government’s free test, but the list is very long.
Consequently, the case was adjourned till August 27, for the continuation of trial.