Masquerade, two others arraigned over murder of Ogun Islamic cleric

The murder was perpetrated at a masquerade festival in Abeokuta

A man, Ajani Olabintan, was arraigned on Tuesday in an Abeokuta court for allegedly murdering an Islamic Cleric during a masquerade festival in the town.

Two other men, Shittu Adeyemi, 61, and Waidi Babalola, 64, were arraigned at the same time for carrying out the masquerade festival without permission from the state government, consequently leading to the death of the cleric.

The Magistrate, Idowu Olayinka, granted Messrs Adeyemi and Babalola bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum.

The sureties, the Magistrate said, must also have title documents of landed property within the jurisdiction of the court and an evidence of tax payment in the last three years to the purse of the Ogun State Government.

The magistrate also directed the prosecutor, Augustine Ozimini, to verify the residence and place of abode of the sureties.

The Islamic Cleric, Lateef Musa, was on January 28, shot dead during the masquerade festival which held at Ijaye area of Abeokuta leading to the arrest of the three men.

One of the men, the alleged killer, is believed to have been the masquerade during the procession.

Appeal for bail

Adebiyi Ogundeyi, counsel to the two men, who were arrested for conducting the event, had earlier prayed the court to grant them bail on the ground that the offence they were being arraigned for is bailable.

He cited section 118(3) of criminal procedure law of Ogun State, arguing that unlike the third accused person, his clients are only facing trial for their failure to obtain permission from the government before conducting a masquerade procession.

The judge granted Messrs Babalola and Adeyemi bail.

“Bail is hereby granted to the first and second accused persons in the sum of N500, 000 with two credible sureties in the like sum, sureties to exhibit title document of landed property within the jurisdiction

of this court. An affidavit of an evidence of payment of tax in the last three years, the prosecution should also verify the residence and place of abode of sureties,” the magistrate ruled.

The magistrate further advised Kayode Akinsola, counsel to the third respondent, Mr. Olabintan, to file a bail application at the High Court pointing out that Mr. Olabintan is facing a murder case which can

only be adjudicated upon at the High Court.

Earlier, supporters of Messrs Babalola and Adeyemi barricaded the entrance to the court. The magistrate warned the supporters to conduct themselves peacefully saying that he will show no mercy to anyone found fomenting trouble.

“You should adopt peaceful measure, you should not result to violence or counter violence, regardless of what the court judgment is going to be, I strongly advise you that the law will take its course. Court is not in support or against anybody; this is where we do justice. I want everybody to go peacefully; I do not want violence or counter violence,” he said.

Speaking to journalists after the court proceedings, the Chief Imam of Ijaye, Musbaudeen Musa Olomu, said the Muslim community has agreed to maintain peace and allow the law take its course.

The magistrate adjourned the case to May 14 for further hearing.

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