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Man Walks Free After Spending 10 years in Prison Awaiting Trial

BellaNaija.com

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The Lagos High Court, Igbosere has set a motorcyclist accused of stealing a phone valued at N18,000 free. Kazeem Sani was freed after he spent 10 years in the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison without trial.

He was first arraigned by the police at the Ikeja Magistrates Court in 2006 before the case was transferred to the Lagos High Court in 2013.

Sani and two others, Ezekiel Oriyomi and Bashiru Olaide, were arraigned for robbery.

The police, in the three counts, said Sani, and the others, on July 7, 2006 dispossessed one Chike of his mobile phone valued at N18,000 at Oluti bus stop, along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Lagos.

The court at that time admitted them to bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties in like sum. Sani said that while the two others met the bail conditions and were released, he could not, hence, was detained.

The Chief Judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, struck out the matter following the intervention of some officials of the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender (OPD). The OPD said no witness showed up for the case during the period it was in the High Court.

An official of the OPD who spoke to PUNCH Metro on the condition of anonymity said:

He was arrested in 2006.  However, the matter was filed at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, on March 27, 2013. That means he spent seven years in custody before his case got to the high court.

In the three years that the matter was in court, there was no witness. Three suspects were actually arraigned, but the others secured their bail in 2006 when the incident happened. He also didn’t have any legal representative.

“We were just checking on the cases in court when we came across his matter and we decided to stand for him. Even the court was surprised that he had spent 10 years. We asked the court that the matter be struck out for lack of diligent prosecution and the Chief Judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, struck out the matter.

Speaking to PUNCH Metro, Sani said

I am a tailor by craft, but when I saw that my earnings were not sufficient to cater to the need of my wife, whom I just married, I decided to start riding a motorcycle to augment my income.

While coming from my house at Idi-Iroko, Sango, on July 6, 2006, two men asked me to carry them to Agege. On the way, some officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, started flagging me down.

When I stopped, the two men on my motorcycle jumped down and started to run, but they were quickly arrested. I was also taken to the SARS office at Ikeja.

I asked them what my crime was and they said I was among the robbers who always snatched people’s bags. I denied and told them my wife was pregnant and I was just looking for my daily bread, but they refused.

My marriage was barely a year old then. My wife, Amina, was pregnant, and my father, who was aged, lived in Ondo.

When I saw that my incarceration was affecting my wife, I told her to stop coming to see me and use the little she had to take care of herself and the pregnancy. Her parents also promised to assist me in taking care of the child.

Sani said that the other defendants stopped showing up in court while he was being taken to court for years without trial.

“I never believed I would be released. I thought it would be the usual routine, until the OPD lawyer showed up and pleaded for me.

Justice Taiwo queried the prosecutor that I had been in custody since 2006 and she (prosecutor) could not even produce any evidence or witness against me. That was how I was set free,” he added.

13 Comments

  1. Bella

    July 1, 2016 at 10:17 am

    heartbreaking, but why? we thank God for your release, but i can only imagine the year you have lost, the government must do something and reimburse him with some monies or a job, this is not okay at all by far now.

  2. Tincan

    July 1, 2016 at 10:38 am

    This is unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. To take 10 years of someone’s life without reason is unacceptable and what really irks me is that there is no mention of the individual/role responsible. Who is responsible for the review and follow up of long term cases? What corrective/preventative measures are being put in place to ensure this kind of situation does not repeat itself? Unbelievable!

    • Kadara

      July 1, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      This is wickedness! I’m sure someone w, somewhere had the ability to help him get his trial at the appropriate time but couldn’t be bothered. We are the ones that make up the system so when the system fails people it’s us as Nigerians who have failed each other. In a sane society he should be getting millions in compensation. This is the type of vas one of the human rights activists should take up

  3. omg

    July 1, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Wow 10 years for a susoect? Nigerian system needs fumigation haba its just unfair. Sorry Sani i hope you find the grace to get back to your normal life

  4. Toluwalope

    July 1, 2016 at 10:57 am

    10years? This is so sad honestly. This evil forest we all call country Nigeria….sure the devil is even learning from us with excitement jotting down series of wicked ideas.

  5. Mr. Egghead

    July 1, 2016 at 11:05 am

    So sad.
    If this is what happens in Lagos – arguably the most advanced state in Nigeria. Imagine what goes on in other states.

  6. Mama

    July 1, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Just imagine! 10 years gone just like that. Yet the youth will come online making excuses for thieving politicians who rob all of us blind. Sad! He needs to be compensated for the lost years.

  7. Bleed Blue

    July 1, 2016 at 11:49 am

    10 years is a LONG time! 🙁

    It makes me wonder why we complain about the way we are treated by other countries and other races, when we cannot even treat each other in the proper way.

    This story makes me want to pick up my wig and gown and go back to the real reason I studied Law.

    Sani, your country has betrayed you. I will find you and do what I can to help you restart life…sigh… 🙁

  8. Funmi

    July 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Justice Taiwo is not the Chief Judge of Lagos State. Verif your information before posting.

  9. Funmi

    July 1, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    verify*

  10. Missappleberry

    July 1, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Gosh! This broke my heart into several pieces ?

  11. tunmi

    July 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    So… What happens next?? Who will empower, financially and otherwise, other organizations to seek out those lost in the shuffle? And what will be the punishment to deter such things?

    There should be a lawsuit out of this

  12. o

    July 1, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    This guy should be compensated. Ha!! 10yrs?? All the opportunities lost, will his wife have waited for him sef,? Abeg they should sue and get some money for him

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