Posted by News Express | 5 July 2017 | 2,289 times
The Chief Magistrate’s Court at Igbosere, Lagos has set free Lagos businessman and frontline industrialist, Chief Felix Ezeamama of criminal charges of alleged armed robbery and attempted murder.
Chief Ezeamama was brought before the Magistrate's Court on May 31, for an order of remand in prison custody by the Commissioner of Police, through the State Central Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba.
It was alleged in the application for remand that Ezeamama attempted to kill one Hajiya Halima Mohammed and that he also robbed her of valuables worth millions of Naira. Ezeamama was promptly remanded in prison custody.
He has been locked in a property dispute with Hajiya Abubakar over the land and building at 41, Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, which was lawfully acquired from the resident beneficiaries through the Presidential Implementation Committee on Federal Government Houses.
Subsequently, Ezeamama applied to the High Court of Lagos State, through eminent lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa to be granted bail.
The Police were duly served with the said application to which they filed a counter-affidavit.
After taking arguments from counsel on June 20, Justice A.M. Lawal granted bail to Ezeamama with two sureties and also directed him to deposit his international passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court. The police also forwarded the case file to the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.
After reviewing the case file, the DPP gave an opinion that no case of attempted murder or armed robbery was made out against Ezeamama, who had in the meantime spent several days on remand at Ikoyi Prisons for the charges.
When the case came up on Tuesday at the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Adegboruwa moved that the court should strike out the remand proceedings in view of the advice from the Office of the DPP and also the order of the High Court granting bail to Ezeamama.
Mr. Cyril Ejiofor, who represented the Police, vehemently opposed the application, insisting that the Police were now willing to file fresh charges against Ezeamama.
In her ruling, Chief Magistrate A.M. Komolafe reviewed the facts of the case and stated that since the High Court had already assumed jurisdiction over the case, the Magistrate's Court could not be conducting concurrent proceedings with the High Court. She then struck out the case.
While commenting on the case after the court proceedings, Adegboruwa stated that this particular case had shown the defect and monstrosity in the various laws permitting the remand of citizens without a formal charge, which was being abused by various law enforcement agencies to punish innocent citizens, where a dispute over property was elevated to armed robbery and attempted murder, leading to the remand of the defendant in prison custody.
“I urge our legislators to set the tone for the removal of all repressive laws that seem to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights, especially now that it is crystal clear that the law enforcement agencies are abusing these processes to punish people unjustly, even in civil cases of landlord and tenant, husband and wife, dispute on land and contract. No sovereign nation should retain in its laws, any provision that has the capacity of abrogating the liberty of its citizens without due process or trial. Considering that awaiting trial cases are very rampart in our prisons, it is most desirable that these obnoxious legislation be struck down in order to decongest the prisons and indeed the courts.”
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