John Shiklam in Kaduna
Nehemiah Adejor, driver of the car that hit and killed Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, is to be charged for culpable homicide and criminal conspiracy at the Kaduna State High Court.
However, two others- Igbekele Faith and Gbayegun Deji, who were passengers in the car, have been set free by the Magistrate Court 1, Kaduna.
The matter came up yesterday before the magistrate, Mr. Benjamin Hassan.
The prosecution counsel, Martins D. Leo, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), prayed the Court to discharge Folorunsho Igbekele Faith and Gbayegun Deji, as they were passengers in the vehicle that was driven by Adejor when the incident occurred on July 14, 2020 at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base, Kaduna.
Ruling on the motion by the prosecution counsel, the judge, discharged Igbekele and Deji, listed as
the 2nd and 3rd suspects respectively, based on police investigation, which did not find them wanting.
Also, the legal advice from the Kaduna State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Bayero Dari, said Faith and Seji have no case to answer.
He said Arotile, was knocked down and killed by a vehicle driven by her secondary school mate, Nehemiah Adejor on July 14, 2020, adding that Folorunsho Igbekele Faith and Gbayegun Deji were passengers in the vehicle.
According to the legal advice read in the open court, there was no premeditation in the death of Arotile, but there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the 1st suspect, Nehemiah Adejor for culpable homicide not punishable with death.
Adejo and his brother, David Adejor (the owner of the car), had earlier been arraigned on August 12, 2020, before a Kaduna Magistrate Court, for traffic offences which caused the death of the Arotile.
The legal advice for the prosecution of Adejor for culpable homicide read: “On the 14 day of July, 2020’ the suspect all male of Auta Alkali Farin Gida, Mando Kaduna inside a Kia Sorento with Registration No AZ 478 MKA Kaduna being driven by the 1st suspect sighted the deceased (NAF/4512F Flying officer Tolulope Arotile) at NAF Base Kawo, Kaduna, whom they identified as their school mate at Air force Secondary School, Kaduna.
“The 1st suspect, full of enthusiasm, recklessly reversed the car in order to meet the deceased and in the process ran over her consequent upon which the deceased lay unconsciously on the ground. The deceased was rushed to NAFX64 Base Hospital for medical attention but was later pronounced dead by the medical doctors at the hospital.
“The suspects were arrested and taken to 461 NAF Hospital Kaduna for toxicology test and results were all negative.
They were later transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Kaduna on the 24th day of July, 2020 for further discreet investigation.
“Police investigation reveals that all the suspects attended the same secondary school with the deceased and upon sighting her, the 1st suspect recklessly reversed the car and eventually ran over the deceased, which led to her untimely death.
“The 1st suspect admitted in his cautionary statement that on the 14th day of July, 2020 he was together with the two other suspects in a car KIA Sorento he was driving, when he saw the deceased walking along the roadside of the Air force Base.
“He informed the other suspects who screamed enthusiastically after which he stopped and started reversing the car in order to meet the deceased and exchange pleasantries. In the process of which he mistakenly ran over her and she later died. He denied having any premeditated plan to kill her.
“The 2nd suspect also stated in his cautionary statement that on the fateful day he along with the 1st and 3rd suspect went on hangout and on their way back the 1st suspect sighted the deceased whom they later saw and became extensively happy.
“That the 1st suspect stopped the car and began to reverse same in order to meet up with the deceased and exchange greetings since they have not met a long time.
“That when he noticed the 1st suspect was driving speedily off the road he cautioned him, but unfortunately he got confused and ran over the deceased.
He outrightly denied any arrangement to cause the death of the deceased.
“He added that being a trained nurse, he assisted in resuscitating the deceased at the hospital but all attempt proved abortive until she was pronounced clinically dead.
“In his cautionary statement, the 3rd suspect corroborated the statement of the 2nd suspect in all material particulars as to the events of the 14th day of July, 2020, as it relates to the death of Flying Officer Tolulope
Arotile at NAF Base Kaduna.
“It is clear also from the investigation done; the 2nd and 3rd suspects were passengers and friends of the 1st suspect who was driving the vehicle.
“From the foregoing there is sufficient evidence to prosecute the 1st suspect for the offence of Culpable Homicide not punishable with death contrary to Section 191 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017 as there is no premeditation in the death of the deceased.
“There is however insufficient evidence against the 2nd and 3rd suspects as the entire investigation did not disclose any offence against them other than being passengers in the vehicle of the 1st suspect.
“To prosecute them therefore will be embarking on an evidential conjuncture totally unknown to our Criminal Justice System, they can be discharged accordingly pursuant to Section 125 (6) (e) of the Kaduna State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, 2017 and thereafter be used as prosecution witnesses in the trial of the 1st suspect”.