The family of the murdered Masters student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Timothy Adegoke, has kicked against the Nigeria Police’s move to try the accused persons in Abuja.
The student had lodged in Hilton Hotels and Resorts at Ile-Ife, upon his arrival from Abuja on November 5, to enable him to arrive early for his examination at the OAU Distance Learning Centre, Moro, Osun State, on November 6 and November 7.
The hotel is owned by Rahman Adedoyin.
After Mr Adegoke was declared missing, the police were invited and seven suspects were arrested by the Osun state police command, where the investigation commenced.
Later, men of the Intelligence Response Team at the Police Headquarters in Abuja took over the investigation and the case was transferred to the Federal Capital Territory.
Upon the conclusion of the investigation, the police sued the accused persons before a High Court in Abuja.
The police are charging the owner of the hotel where Mr Adegoke was allegedly murdered with illegally disposing of his body, altering and cancelling his payment receipt, and removal of the hotel’s CCTV cameras with intent to destroy evidence.
Others charged alongside Mr Adedoyin are: Adedeji Adesola, 23; Magdalene Chiefuna, 24; Adeniyi Aderogba, 37; Oluwale Lawrence, 37, Oyetunde Kazeem, 38; Adebayo Kunle, 35, and others who have taken to their heels.
Mr Adegoke’s family is, however, opposing the location where the police decided to try Mr Adedoyin and others.
The family through its counsel, Naim Adekilekun, is insisting that the trial should be done in Osun State since that is the state where the crime was committed.
In the petition obtained by PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, the counsel is appealing to the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that the case is heard at a High Court of Justice in Osun State.
“As we are preparing for the prosecution of the suspects arrested in connection to this murder, we wish to state that it has filtered to us that the Police in Abuja is ready to proffer a charge against the suspects in respect of this case at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
“It must be stated here that the family never doubted the competence of the Police to prosecute this case to a logical conclusion. But as the solicitors to the family, we have our reservation to the prosecution of this case at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
“To start with, in criminal prosecution, the Court in the territorial jurisdiction of the area of the alleged crime will be seised (sic) of the case and nothing more, although this may not be the case of some Federal offences triable at the Federal High Court of any judicial Division and the reason for, is not far-fetched this can be traced to the fact that the Law recognizes Federal High Court of Nigeria to be one and single court irrespective of the Division.
“This explains the reason why a case instituted in Federal High Court A may be transferred to Federal High Court B if there is a need for that. This is not the case in respect of High Court of different state. A High Court of Osun State for example cannot transfer a case to the High Court of Oyo State for adjudication. A High Court of a State will be one in division (sic) with respect to other High Court in the same State and not a High Court of the other state.”
The lawyer noted that the Administration of Criminal Justice Act guides the prosecution of crimes at the Federal High Court in Nigeria and other offences punishable in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and it also provides the framework for criminal litigation in those courts where it is applicable.
“93 (1) An offence shall ordinarily be inquired into and tried by a court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction: The offence was wholly or in part committed, or some act forming part of the offence was done;
“The consequence of the offence has ensured; An offence was committed by reference to which the offence is denied; or a person against whom, or property in respect of which, the offence was committed is found, having been transported there by the suspect or by a person knowing of the offence, a criminal charge shall be filed and tried in the division where the alleged offence was committed unless it can be shown that it is convenient to do otherwise for security reasons.
“However, the sub-section 2 which seems to provide a proviso to the Section 93 (1) does not operate in the circumstance of Timothy’ Case, because there is no security reasons for not charging these suspects at the High Court of Justice Osun State, it is not necessary that they should be charged at Ile-Ife, Osun State where the alleged murder was committed, they can be charged in the Osogbo, the state capital.”
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