‘Rohypnol’, clinically known as Flunitrazepam, a sedative with hypnotic effect was used to lure late Cynthia Osokogu to complacency and later killed.
Nov. 5 (PREMIUM TIMES) The Yaba Magistrate Court has fixed November 27 for the continuation of the trial of suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu, who was murdered in her hotel room in Lagos.
At the last sitting on October 5, the police prosecutor amended its charges to an 11 count-charge, and the case adjourned till November 5 to await the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.
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.
On Monday, the court failed to sit as it was still observing its annual leave and a new date, November 27, was fixed.
The date, however, did not go down well with some of the defendants’ lawyers who argued that the liberty of their clients are at stake.
“It’s absurd. I’ve never seen such a level of decadence in our society,” said Greg Anumenechi, counsel to Mr. Okechukwu.
“The liberty of the citizens of this country in involved, and people should not take such liberties for granted.
“The issue concerning date is for the lawyers to decide, and if the court says it will not sit on that day, we’ll know what to do,” he added.
The DPP’s advice
While the court said that it had received an ‘unstamped’ copy of the DPP’s advice; the police said that they have not received any.
Mr. Anumenechi frowned at the magistrate court’s delay of proceedings when “it doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear the matter.”
“The information we received from the registrar of court was that the DPP’s advice was ready but that there is an issue concerning that there was no stamp of the DPP,” Mr. Anumenechi said.
“And I said it’s absurd. The question is whether the DPP signed it, if the DPP signed it, that’s the requirement of the law,” he added.
The police, however, said that they are yet to get a copy of the advice from the DPP.
“I’ve not seen the DPP’s advice,” said Chukwu Agwu, the lead police counsel.
“If they serve the police, it will go to the DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police), then they’ll now minute to me,” Mr. Agwu, a Superintendent of Police, added.
Mr. Agwu attributed the delay to different couriers used by the court, adding that the police would act on the advice as soon as they receive it.
“As soon as the police is served, the police authority will look at it, check the reasons for whatever was given.
“We’ll not swallow the advice hook, line and sinker,” Mr. Agwu said.
A long wait
After the seven suspects were arrested in August, an order was made by the court on August 27 to forward their case files to the DPP.
The police did not forward the files until one month later.
And when the matter came up last month, the police said that it had decided to file fresh charges against the defendants which they would, again, forward to the DPP for advice.
“Those boys have been arraigned since 27th of August. Going by that they would have been there for more than 90 days,” said Chris Obiaka, counsel to the pharmacists.
“If at the end of the day you discharge and acquit them, will you say that justice has been done?” he asked.