The Lagos Division of the Lagos State High Court Friday adjourned the trial of four men who allegedly kidnapped Goriola Oseni, the traditional ruler of Iba Kingdom, to November 11.
Duba Furejo, Ododomo Isaiah, Reuben Anthony, and Yerin Fresh are standing trial before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo on an eight count charge of conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.
The judge adjourned proceedings following a mild drama that ensued after two defence lawyers bickered over the representation of the fourth defendant, Mr. Fresh.
A lawyer, Seliowei Baidu, had announced appearance for the first, second, and fourth defendants.
But no sooner had he finished than another lawyer, Anthony Onwueze, informed the court that Mr. Fresh’s family had approached him to take over his case.
Mr. Baidu, who represented the fourth defendant on the day of arraignment last month, opposed the move saying he had not been duly informed by Mr. Onwueze to properly hand over the brief to him.
Elizabeth Alakija, the Director of Public Prosecution in Lagos State, pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter to enable the lawyers resolve their differences.
Mrs. Taiwo adjourned for commencement of trial, and asked the two defence counsels to resolve their differences using existing legal rules of professional ethics.
The defendants allegedly kidnapped the 74-year-old monarch in his palace on July 16th at about 8.00p.m.
On July 20, they demanded a ransom of N500 million.
According to Adeniji Kazeem, the Attorney-General of Lagos State and Commissioner for Justice, the accused conspired with others at large to kidnap the traditional ruler.
Mr. Kazeem, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said the accused murdered two people during their operation – Sunday Okanlawon, a palace guard, and Joseph Okeke, a commercial motorcyclist.
He also alleged that the defendants, armed with guns, attempted to murder Abosede Oseni, the monarch’s wife, and made away with her cell phone.
He said the offences contravened Sections 223, 230, 297, 299, and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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