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Octogenarian Appeals For Release Of Her Children

A 84- year -old woman Alhaja Basirat Alogba Ifeshile whose two foster children are currently being detained at Ikoyi prison over allegations of conspiracy to commit Rape and armed robbery has cried to Lagos state Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and the state Chief Judge to intervene in the matter to enhance the release of her children who are languishing in custody since last year March.

Speaking with our correspondent at her home in Ikorodu, the octogenarian who is also the head of the Odo-Onasa royal family in Ikorodu, Lagos said she is pleading with the government to rescue her from sorrowful end by reinvestigating the matter to ensure her children were released.

The suspects,   Morufu and his brother Adefewope were arrested on March 26, 2014 over the allegations which are contrary to section 258,297 and 295(2)(a) of the Criminal law, No11, laws of Lagos state, 2011. She argued that her children were framed up by a notorious land grabber (names with held) who wanted to silence every opposition in the family so as to have a total claim over all the landed properties belonging to the family.

The octogenarian who spoke through an interpreter maintained that her sons did not commit any of the offences, as according to her, the suspects and the family lawyer were at the premises of Economic and Financial crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos for a case, as at the time the incident were allegedly perpetrated, She wondered how a person in Ikoyi could perpetrate the above crimes at the same time he was at the office of a verifiable government security agency and urged the Governor to look into the case so as to save her innocent children from continued incarcerations at the prison. .

The woman who battled with tears during the course of the interview noted that the continued detention of her children in prison is giving her sleepless nights and has also become a source of worries to her and the entire family. She said ‘’I am distressed and bitter at heart that my children who ought to be taking care of me at this age until the day the Almighty Allah calls me home are languishing in prison for offence they never committed. “I pray that the Governor would have a listening ear and unite me with   my sons before anything happens to me .I weep and cry all day and night to my God and ancestors for their interventions.

“Tell the Governor that I would ever be grateful to him for wiping away my tears by intervening in the matter. However, her claims that the suspects were at the premises of EFCC were confirmed by a senior officer at the anti graft agency who claimed that he was with the suspects on that fateful day. The officer who pleaded anonymity noted that EFCC wrote a letter to that effect to the DPP and police.. Also, the Baale of the area, Chief Jimoh Balogun called on the state Governor to constitute a discrete investigation on the case with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the matter. He stated that the case was purely a land matter but the opponents who are rich through their exploits from the proceeds of the land have used their wealth to supress the matter.

The Baale said that he was with the suspects at EFCC on that fateful day and wondered why the police that investigated the matter failed to consider or investigate the alibi pleaded by the suspects at the police station . Also, a letter of protest to the Lagos State Attorney General,AG, by one of the suspect’s lawyer, Mr.Olujimi Oluseyi Olaniyi, a principal partner at the Trite Law Partners, Surulere , Lagos urged the chief law officer to reinvestigate the case to ensure that innocent persons were not treated unjustly. He alleged that the suspects have been variously denied bails at the Magistrate courts which remanded them in prison custody.

The Attorney General in a letter to the Commissioner of police in the state, argued that the plea of alibi could not be investigated because the victim duly recognized the suspects who were not masked and described the clothes the suspects wore at that point.. The AG’s letter dated March 5th 2015 and signed by Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, EI. Alakija, read in part ‘’It is the law that a defence of alibi need not be investigated if there is credible evidence to place the accused at the scene of the crime. It went on to say that where evidence of the prosecution witness specifically pins down an accused person to the scene of the crime and says that he committed the offence, the failure to investigate the alibi by the police will not result in an acquittal of the accused. See Ebrivs State (2005)1 Ncc1014’’ He argued that all the ingredients of the offence of Rape, conspiracy to commit robbery and Armed robbery are present in the cases as there is evidence linking the suspects.

-Xavier Ndanyongmong

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