- Category: Politics
- Published on Friday, 14 January 2011 07:17
- Written by Admin
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In what seems like a perversion of justice, Sen. Teslim Folarin, the embattled senate leader charged last week for the murder Alh. Lateef Salako aka Eleweomo was freed yesterday and flown to Abuja to participate in the PDP primaries. Charges against him were also withdrawn.
Senator Teslim Folarin, and three others were, on Thursday, ordered to be released from the Agodi Prisons, Ibadan.
An Iyaganku Chief Magistrates’ Court, while ruling on the application for the withdrawal of two-count charge of conspiracy and murder brought by the police, said the court had no power to refuse the application.
Chief Magistrate Shakirat Badrudeen said that based on section 284 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court could not be an impediment to the complainant’s bid to withdraw the charges against the suspects.
She said that since the complainant, the police, had requested that the charges be withdrawn against the suspects, “the court, hereby, withdraws the charges for further investigation by the police.”
She also ordered that the suspects should be left out of the case for the police to continue with the investigation.
Also, efforts by the Oyo State Director for Public Prosecution (DPP), Mr H.F Sule, to stop the withdrawal of the charges were refused by the chief magistrate, who ruled that since the commissioner of police had written that the charges be withdrawn, the DPP had no right to oppose the application.
The DPP had moved to halt the application, when counsel for the accused, Chief Adeniyi Akintola, SAN, challenged him and asked the court not to allow him and warned against any sinister move.
Earlier, the police prosecutor, Mr M.A. Ojeh, had informed the court of the need to withdraw the charges against the accused to allow for further investigation.
He said that the police were still looking for people who were allegedly involved in the murder of the former union leader.
He disclosed that the police were relying on the Criminal Procedure Code of the Laws of Oyo State to withdraw the charges against the suspects.
In a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Baba Adisa Bolanta, the withdrawal was to enable the police to further carry out investigation on the matter.
Responding, counsel for the accused Akintola told the court that they were not opposing the application, so far the charges were withdrawn and the accused released from prison custody.
Earlier, Chief Akintola had moved a motion calling on the magistrate to review the date in hearing the application for the withdrawal of the charges against the accused.
The magistrates’ court had, on January 4, remanded the accused in Agodi Prisons and adjourned hearing till January 14.
The review of the date was to enable the court to hear the case on Thursday instead of Friday earlier fixed for the hearing.
Ruling on the motion dated January 13, 2011, the magistrate ruled that the case be shifted from Friday to Thursday and that a warrant be issued to enable prison official to bring the suspects to court.
At exactly, 12.30p.m., the accused were brought to the court and after listening to the complainant, the magistrate ordered that the suspects be released since the charges had been withdrawn.
After the court proceeding, the Senate leader was taken to the commissioner of police, where he addressed his supporters to be calm and not to habour bitterness against anybody.
He described his incarceration as God-made, saying that he had been taken to police headquarters for security reason.
According to him, the Peoples Democratic Part (PDP) presidential primary was going on and he had to be there.
Meanwhile, at the Nigerian Prisons Service, Agodi, Ibadan, thousands of Folarin’s supporters had, as early as 8.00a.m. stormed the area awaiting the release of their leader.
The jubilant crowd defied the presence of the stern looking anti-riot mobile policemen, who were stationed strategically with the combined efforts of the men of the Prisons Service and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The security operatives had a hectic time controlling the crowd, comprising political associates of the Senate leader and numerous sympathisers were in joyous mood as they were celebrating the imminent release of Folarin.
Songs were rendered and prominent ones among them which were intermittently rendered by the crowd were “Ogun o ko wa ri, Omo ‘badan kii se eru enikookan, Ogun, o ko wa ri,” meaning, Ibadan has never been conquered and no true son of the soil had ever been enslaved.”
Other notable songs chorused by the supporters of Folarin is “Eni ba dibo f’Akala, ofo ni ose,” meaning, “whoever casts vote for Akala will be doomed.”
Apparently conscious of the security of the area, because of the charged atmosphere, the prisons officials sold dummy to the crowd, as they changed about four ambulances and pick-up vans intermittently to fool the crowd that was looking eagerly for the vehicle Folarin would be conveyed in.
At first, they brought a pick-up van with registration number PS 598 AO1, followed by another green ambulance with registration number PS 638 AO1 and later two other vehicles. But it was the vehicle marked PS 638AO1 with a patrol vehicle that was used to transport Folarin and three others charged alongside him for conspiracy and murder of Eleweomo.
At exactly 12.35p.m., the three accused were led into the waiting ambulance, followed by Folarin, who was all smiles, as he waived to the tumultuous crowd of supporters.
Additional information from Nigerian Tribune