Symbol of justice
An Edo State High Court Tuesdaygranted a human rights activist, Rev. David Ugolor, bail.
Ugolor is standing trial in connection with the murder of Olaitan Oyerinde, the Principal Private Secretary to Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State.
Ugolor was arrested on July 27 and detained by the police from the Federal Special Anti –Robbery Squad after being named as the sponsor of the murder by one of the arrested suspects.
On August 31, 2012, the police arraigned him before a Magistrates’ Court presided over by Chief Magistrate F. Idiake who said he had no jurisdiction to hear the matter but ordered his remand in prison custody.
Opposing Ugolor’s bail earlier, State Counsel, Mrs. Adekunmbi, argued that the accused if granted bail could escape and flee from the country due to the serious nature of the case.
She also told the court that the police still needed time to continue further investigations and also access the call log of Ugolor, averring that the first accused person in the case, Mr. Garba Maisamari, had named the ANEEJ Executive Director in his confession as the one who allegedly contracted them to commit the crime.
However, counsel to Ugolor, led by G. M. D Oguntade (SAN), in their counter averments of the state counsel, said their client is an international figure and well known all over the country and the world at large and will not jump bail.
They also told the court that holding charge was unknown to Nigerian law, noting that a citizen of Nigeria cannot be in detention when he has been charged to court.
They further argued that by virtue of Section 9(4) of Evident Act, 2011, the confession of a co-accused was not binding on Ugolor if the confession was not adopted.
Ruling on the summons to admit to bail earlier filed by Olayowola Afolabi on behalf of Ugolor, Justice Phillip Imodemhe said the police could not prove beyond reasonable doubts why Ugolor should not be release.
Justice Imodemhe held that the case was a bailable offence because it is a case of conspiracy and armed robber, adding that there was no solid prove to show that Ugolor was involved beyond the statement relied on by the police by Maisamari.
He said the police report in the counter-affidavit filed showed that they (police) were still investigating and was not ready to prosecute Ugolor.
The judge therefore admitted the accused to bail with one surety and in like sum of N1million who must owned a house and resident in Benin-City.
As at press time, members of civil society groups were working to get the bail condition but it was not confirmed whether Ugolor would be released from the Oko Minimum Security prison where he is currently being kept.