Court Issues Bench Warrant Against Two For Evading Arraignment

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A Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja, has issued a bench warrant against a former member of the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, Ralph Obioha and one, Ifeanyi Okereke for alleged wilful damage and stealing.

Justice Modupe Nicole-Clay issued the bench warant on the defendants, following their absence in Court for arraignment.

The judge adjourned the case until May 18 for arraignment.

The defence counsel, Temitope Ogunleye, had apologised to the Court for the absence of Obioha and Okereke.

“We have tried to reach Okereke but to no avail. However, Obioha is medically unfit and he is on admission at Saint Francis Hospital, in Ikoyi.

“He has been ill about a month now but he had to travel down to Lagos a few days ago contrary to medical advice that he has to be present in Court today.

“Unfortunately, He was rushed to the hospital yesterday.

“The matter is currently going on at Magistrates Court, in Yaba and the defendant had not been absent,” Ogunleye said.

The state prosecution, led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Babajide Martins, however, told the Court that the assertion made by the defence was inaccurate and misconceived.

“My lord, the cases at the Magistrate Court, Yaba has been struck out upon the commencement of this proceedings.

“My lord, the defendants are aware of their arraignment in Court today but they chose not to make themselves available.

“The assertion of my learned colleague that one of the defendants is sick is against what the bailiff, who went to their house, was told.

“Our application is that warrant should be issued,” Martins said.

The defendants were charged alongside Olotu Monday, John Sunday and Dairo Olawale before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in 2021 and were granted bail.

However, in the new amendment charge, marked LD/20256C/22, Obioha and Okereke were the only defendants charged for the offences.

The two defendants are to face an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, willful damage and stealing.

The prosecution alleged the defendants of damaging seven vehicles belonging to former Managing Director of First African Trust Bank, Yomi Tokosi.

According to the charge, the duo were alleged to have entered the residence of Tokosi and willfully damaged seven vehicles, windows and doors.

The alleged offences took place on November 29, 2020, about 8.00p.m. at 24B, Osborne Estate, Ikoyi Lagos.

The defendants were also alleged of stealing one, Techno phone, Wrist watch, Touch Light and eye glasses, property of one, Olaiya Afeez.

The offences committed, according to the charge, contravened Sections 411, 350 and 289 of the criminal law of Lagos state 2015.

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