Cynthia Osokogu was murdered in a hotel at Festac.
A needless blunder by the Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP’s office has stirred a fresh controversy in the case of Cynthia Osokogu, who was murdered last July in her hotel room in Festac, Lagos.
At the hearing of the DPP’s advice at the Yaba Magistrate Court, Tuesday, Chukwu Agwu, the police counsel, stated that the DPP issued two ‘advices.’
The ‘advices’ came after weeks of waiting for the DPP’s final nod before actual trial of the suspects begins.
The suspects, Okwumo Nwabufo, Olisaeloka Ezike, Orji Osita, Chukwunonso Maduakor, Gideon Okechukwu, Nonso Ezike, and Chinonso Ezeaka are being held for murder, rape, robbery, and false pretence.
Two advices, one case
On November 1, the DPP issued its advice, with reference NO. LJP/HOM/2012/143/24 and signed by M.B Olaniyi, to the police.
The advice stated that there was no evidence of criminal act by Messrs Osita and Maduakor, the two pharmacists.
It also exonerated the duo of Messrs Okechukwu and Ezeaka.
However, 16 days later, the DPP made a volte face and issued the police another advice.
The second advice, bearing reference NO. LJP/HOM/2012/143/30 and signed by Olayide Eboda insisted that there is “a prima facie case of reckless and negligent acts” against Mr. Osita.
According to the later advice, there are facts that the second defendant (Olisaeloka) had identified Mr. Osita as the pharmacist who sold the drug Rohypnol Flunitrazepan to him without prescription.
Though the later advice contradicted the earlier one, Chukwu Agwu, the police counsel said that it was “superior, correct, and authentic.”
“The DPP gave the second advice after they made a representation that the first advice did not articulate all the facts,” said Mr. Agwu.
On the strength of the first DPP’s advice, Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of the Ikeja High Court, last week, released both pharmacists from police custody.
While delivering his ruling, Mr. Onigbanjo stated that he had “carefully considered” the contents of the DPP’s advice dated November 1.
As a result, on Tuesday, both pharmacists were absent in court, a development which angered the police counsel who said he was unaware of the High Court’s decision.
“Following the latest advice, we have another charge for the third defendant(Mr. Osita) and I don’t know why he and the fourth defendant (Mr. Maduakor) are not in court today,” said Mr. Agwu.
“In view of this situation I urge this honourable court to invoke section 79 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State and order the arrest of Osita so that he can face the new charge against him.”
Responding to Mr. Agwu’s claims, counsel to the pharmacists, Chris Obiaka, said that the DPP who issued the second advice was represented at the high court when his clients were freed.
“We served the police just as we served the DPP the hearing notice at the Ikeja High Court together with the various court processes.
“Now, it’s quite surprising that another advice has emanated from the same office, DPP, and I don’t know whether they obtained further evidence to guide them in this new advice. We urge the court to tread with caution in making any ruling or order,” Mr. Obiaka added.
The presiding magistrate, Olalekan Aka-Bashorun, ordered that Mr. Osita be available in court at the next adjourned date.
Mr. Aka-Bashorun also released the trio of Messrs Maduakor (pharmacist), Okechukwu, and Ezeaka, on the advice of the DPP which exonerated them from the murder.
The DPP further held that it had “sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case” of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, conspiracy to commit felony to wit stealing and stealing against Messrs Nwabufo and Olisaeloka, the primary suspects.
It also stated that Mr. Nonso (Olisaeloka’s brother) who received the stolen goods also has a case to answer before the court.
The magistrate adjourned till December 17 to rule on the bail application of the brothers, Olisaeloka and Nonso.
|All the suspects|
|1||Okwumo Nwabufo – allegedly drugged, raped and strangled Ms. Osokogu.|
|2||Olisaeloka Ezike – allegedly acted with Mr. Nwabufo in committing the murder.|
|3||Orji Osita (pharmacist) – allegedly sold the drug Rohypnol Flunitrazepan without prescription to the alleged murderers.|
|4||Chukwunonso Maduakor (pharmacist) – works at the pharmacy where the drug was bought. FREED|
|5||Gideon Okechukwu – allegedly drove the suspects to Ms. Osokogu’s hotel. FREED|
|6||Nonso Ezike – allegedly received and sold the deceased Blackberry Bold 5.|
|7||Chinonso Ezeaka – allegedly worked with Mr. Nonso. FREED|