10-years after awaiting trial and being docked in the Kirikiri Medium Prison, a Lagos High Court in Igbosere has set free a motorcyclist identified as Kazeem Sani.
According to reports, 34-year-old Sani was arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate court sometime in 2006 after he was accused of stealing a cell phone worth the sum of N18,000 and thereafter, the case was moved to a High Court.
Sources say the intervention of some officials of the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender who waded into his matter effected the freedom of Sani and according to a police source who pleaded anonymity, nobody showed up as a witness during the trial period of the motorcyclist.
“He was arrested in 2006. However, the matter was filed at the Lagos High Court, Igbosere, on March 27, 2013. That means he spent seven years in custody before his case got to the high court.
“In the three years that the matter was in court, there was no witness. Three suspects were actually arraigned, but the others secured their bail in 2006 when the incident happened. He also didn’t have any legal representative.
“We were just checking on the cases in court when we came across his matter and we decided to stand for him. Even the court was surprised that he had spent 10 years. We asked the court that the matter be struck out for lack of diligent prosecution and the Chief Judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, struck out the matter.”
Sani couldn’t believe he had been freed when the court made the ruling and it took the reassurance of court officials for him to believe that he was free to go home.
Recounting his story, Sani who said he was a tailor by craft, informed that he decided to take to riding an Okada to make ends meet when he was arrested along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, Lagos, with two other passengers he was carrying.
“I am a tailor by craft, but when I saw that my earnings were not sufficient to cater to the need of my wife, whom I just married, I decided to start riding a motorcycle to augment my income.
“While coming from my house at Idi-Iroko, Sango, on July 6, 2006, two men asked me to carry them to Agege. On the way, some officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, started flagging me down.
“When I stopped, the two men on my motorcycle jumped down and started to run, but they were quickly arrested. I was also taken to the SARS office at Ikeja.
“I asked them what my crime was and they said I was among the robbers who always snatched people’s bags. I denied and told them my wife was pregnant and I was just looking for my daily bread, but they refused.”
Sani informed that he was later arraigned at an Ikeja Magistrate Court along with the two other men and after the sitting, the court admitted them to bail in the sum of N50,000 with two sureties in like sum.
Sani added that while the two other defendants met the bail conditions and were released, he could not meet the condition and was therefore detained.
“My marriage was barely a year old then. My wife, Amina, was pregnant, and my father, who was aged, lived in Ondo.
“When I saw that my incarceration was affecting my wife, I told her to stop coming to see me and use the little she had to take care of herself and the pregnancy. Her parents also promised to assist me in taking care of the child,” he added.
Continuing, Sani said he never believed he would be released the last time he appeared in court.
“I never believed I would be released. I thought it would be the usual routine, until the DPP’s lawyer showed up and pleaded for me.
“Justice Taiwo queried the prosecutor that I had been in custody since 2006 and she (prosecutor) could not even produce any evidence or witness against me. That was how I was set free,” he said.
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