The Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, has advised the police to drop charges against two suspected thugs who allegedly disrupted the House of Representatives primary of the All Progressives Congress in the Anthony Village area of the state on October 4, 2018.
The suspects – Rasak Akinwale and Yomi Adedayo – had been charged by the police with the attempted murder of one Ibrahim Mustapha before the state’s magistrates’ court in Igbosere.
The police, in two separate charges marked, B/102/2018 and B/103/2018, accused the suspects of causing grievous bodily harm to the complainant, Mustapha, who alleged that he was axed on the head by suspected thugs at the primary venue.
The suspects, according to the police, acted contrary to sections 233, 230(a) and 245 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
It was learnt that six suspects arrested by the police in connection with the mayhem, including Akinwale and Adedayo, were arraigned on October 18 and 25 before Court 2 at the Lagos State Magistrates’ Court in Igbosere.
The magistrate was said to have ordered that the suspects should be remanded in custody to await the advice of the DPP.
The matter was adjourned till November 2 for the report on the DPP advice.
However, DPP advice dated October 27, 2018 and titled, “Inspector-General of Police versus Rasak Akinwale, Adedayo Yomi, Sanni Ganiyu Okanlawon, CR/RAR No.1695/2018,” urged the police to drop charges against the suspects for lack of sufficient evidence.
The DPP, in the advice, stated that “the case against the suspects is based on suspicion and suspicion alone is not enough to justify preferring a charge against a person.”
But the complainant, Mustapha, a one-time chairmanship aspirant for the Kosofe Local Government Area, through his lawyer, Bolaji Oluwapese, rejected the DPP advice, describing it as “most disappointing, unreasonable and illogical.”
In an October 31, 2018 petition, which he sent to the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem (SAN), the complainant called for a review of the DPP advice, insinuating that there had been a compromise.
He said he was surprised that the DPP issued advice on October 29 about six days after the police prosecutor submitted the first case file and on the same day the second case file was submitted.
The complaint’s lawyer said he was further surprised to find the name of one Ganiyu Okanlawon in the DPP advice when only the names of Rasak Akinwale and Adedayo Yomi were allegedly in the case files sent to the DPP office.
Besides, he said he was surprised that the suspects were released from custody on October 30 even though the magistrate adjourned the case till November 2 to determine the fate of the suspects based on the DPP advice.
“By the said legal advice and despite overwhelming evidence, including machetes, videos of attacks, pictures of our client’s bruised skull and medical reports, what the DPP concluded by its hasty and adumbral advice is that our client’s case and allegation are based on mere suspicion,” the complainant’s lawyer fumed in the petition to the AG.
But the DPP, while explaining the difficulty of sustaining criminal charges against the suspects in her advice, said there were counter-allegations that the complainant, “Honourable Ibrahim hired area boys in two vanagon buses from Mushin to disrupt the election.”
According to the DPP, there were also allegations that “the area boys (allegedly hired by Ibrahim) were led by one ‘Poly’ and one ‘Pepper’, who started trouble by brandishing cutlasses and guns and chasing people away (from the election venue) and the police intervened and returned order”.
The DPP noted that the suspects had denied being responsible for the attack on Ibrahim.
The DPP said though it was clear from the facts of the case and the attached photographs that Mustapha was attacked with a cutlass or an axe, “the issue is the identity of the person who inflicted the injury on the complainant.”
She, therefore, advised non-prosecution of the suspects as the available facts were insufficient to establish a prima facie case against any of them.