A Chief Magistrate Court in Ebute-Metta on Monday adjourned the case of the owners of the collapsed building in Lekki, Lagos, to February 23, 2017, to await the decision of the Lagos State Government.
Tajudeen Elias said the court would wait to know whether the Attorney General of Lagos State would file a criminal charge against the defendants or not.
The court’s decision came days after the state government said it had concluded arrangement to commence the prosecution of nine suspects deemed culpable in the building collapse.
Adeniji Kazeem, the state Attorney General, said a criminal charge had already been filed before the High Court of Lagos State against the suspects.
Richard Nyong and Taiwo Odofin had been dragged before the court after a five-storey building collapsed in Lekki, last March, killing at least 30 people.
The Lagos State government accused Messrs. Lekki Worldwide Estate Ltd and Get Too Rich Investment Ltd, owned by the defendants, of going behind the state’s building regulatory agency to add two floors to the approved three-storey building.
The defendants were arrested days after the incident, with the court ordering their remand for 30 days pending the conclusion of a police investigation over the matter.
However, Magistrate Folashade Botoku granted bail to the defendants before the expiration of the 30 day period.
She was subsequently transferred out of the Chief Magistrate Court to a Customary Court.
On Monday, the Chief Magistrate Court struck out a motion filed by Mr. Nyong seeking a variation of the earlier bail conditions ordered by the court following his arrest.
Mr. Nyong, 34, had filed the motion for variation asking that his international passport be released to him to facilitate a trip abroad for medical check-up.
But at the resumption of the matter on Monday, Mr. Nyong’s lawyer, Bode Olanipekun, applied to withdraw the motion saying that the issue had been overtaken by events, and that it was no longer necessary to go ahead with it.
The application was not opposed by other parties, and the magistrate struck it out.
Earlier, the prosecutor, Goddy Osuyi, drew the court’s attention to the Legal Advice issued by the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP) of Lagos State Ministry of Justice on the case.
Mr. Osuyi, a Legal Officer attached to State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, said the case file was forwarded to the DPP by the police for Legal Advice, and that the DPP had since concluded work on the file.
He, however, urged the court to allow the Legal Advice to be read to Messrs. Nyong and Odofin
But Mr. Olanipekun and Gboyega Okenla, Mr. Odofin’s lawyer, opposed the application of Mr. Osuyi saying it was not supported by any practice or legal authority.
“Our clients are aware of the contents of the DPP Legal Advice and I am aware that the issue of involuntary manslaughter in the report is outside the purview of the jurisdiction of this court,” Mr. Olanipekun said.
“So, I think it is better for us to wait for the next action to be taken by the Attorney General of the State whether he will or not file a criminal charge in the matter.”
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