Court Adjourns Hearing in Offa Bank Robbery Case to January 18

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By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

A Kwara State High Court sitting in Ilorin Monday adjourned the case preferred against five robbery suspects who were allegedly found culpable in the April 5, 2018 Offa bank robbery till Friday, January 18, 2019 for definite hearing as the prosecution failed to bring witnesses who will testify in the case to court.

The five accused persons brought before the court were Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran.

The accused persons were each charged with five counts of alleged conspiracy, armed robbery, murder, culpable homicide and illegal possession of fire arms.

When the case, which was slated for definite hearing came up, Mr Jimoh Mumini, the Kwara State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who stood in for the prosecution, said that the police who investigated the case could not bring its witnesses who are all in the Force Headquarters in Abuja to the court.

According to the DPP, “All the witnesses in the robbery case are policemen who investigated the case and they are all from the police headquarters in Abuja. No witness was taken from Offa where the robbery took place and non from Kwara State.”

Mumini said that all efforts made to the Assistant Inspector General (AIG) David Igodo, who is in charge of police investigation and Mr Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who led the investigation team to Kwara State to produce the witnesses in court, did not yield any result.

The DPP said: “On the 10th of December, 2018, I wrote a letter to the AIG, Mr Igodo which I copied to this honorable court to make available all witnesses in this case in court today.

“I followed it up with phone calls on January 2, 4 and 6, 2019. It was at about 8.07 pm yesterday (Sunday) that Abba Kyari, DCP told me that the witnesses will leave Abuja for Ilorin this morning. I told him that the court would sit at 9am. The AIG then told me to beg the court for short adjournment.”

He however sought for short adjournment for the case from the court.

The defence counsel Mathias Emeribe, who said that the prosecution was not ready to go on with the case, did not oppose the adjournment.

He pleaded with the court to order the prosecution to serve him with the amended charge of the case as well as the confessional statements of the five accused persons.

In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Halimat Salman, said that she was adjourning the case till January 18, 2019 because the police failed to make the witnesses available in court.

He vacated the definite hearing order slated for Tuesday and ordered that the police should send all the witnesses to Ilorin for the definite hearing of the case on Friday January 18, 2019.

Armed robbers invaded five banks in Offa on April 5, 2018, resulting in the death of 33 people including nine policemen and women, while a huge amount of money was carted away by the robbers.