Barristers & Solicitors
Court clears lawyer, others of kidnap, robbery allegations

Ogun State Magistrate’s Court has cleared a lawyer, Kayode Oshiyemi, of the kidnap, fraud and robbery allegations levelled against him and others by the police in the state.

Chief Magistrate A.S. Soneye upheld the state Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) report, which found no evidence Oshiyemi and his co-defendants – Adebowale Ogunlaja, Sadiq Owolabi and Abolaji Alaba – committed a crime.

The court noted that the Attorney-General’s Office had perused the case file sent by the police and “concluded there was no basis to charge the respondents with criminal offence as they do not have a case to answer.”

An Ijebu-Ode resident, Shakirudeen Olufowobi, had through his lawyer, Yomi Nuberu, petitioned the commissioner of Police on June 26, 2018, accusing Oshiyemi and others of obtaining money under false pretence, and attempting to kidnap and kill.

The police arrested, detained and paraded the lawyer and others.

On July 2, 2018, they were arraigned on charges of “conspiracy to commit robbery, unlawful attempt to kidnap and conspiracy to defraud”.

The defendants denied the allegations, saying they never constituted a threat to Olufowobi.

The  court released Oshiyemi on self-recognition and granted the others bail.

It directed the police to send the case file to the DPP’s office for advice.             

Oshiyemi challenged the alleged ill-treatment meted out to him by the police in court.

He said he was only a lawyer to his co-defendants in another case instituted by Olufowobi.

The lawyer explained he telephoned Olufowobi once “in an attempt to resolve the case pending in court amicably.”

The court upheld his case and awarded N10 million damages in Oshiyemi’s favour.

The DPP’s report, signed by Assistant Chief State in Counsel, Mrs. Abimbola Akinsaya, also exonerated Oshiyemi and his co-defendants.

The legal advice dated December 21, 2018 and addressed to the commissioner of Police said the case file was not strong enough to recommend a charge.

But despite not finding evidence against the suspects, Akinsaya’s report recommended “binding over proceedings” against the defendants.

The binding over proceedings were aimed at obtaining an order of the  court to compel the suspects to produce sureties as a guarantee of their peaceful conduct in the Imagbon area of Ijebu-Ode for one year.

The defendants opposed the application.

On August 27, 2018, Chief Magistrate Soneye dismissed the prosecution’s application for binding over.

The court held: “The motion on notice for binding over against the first to fourth respondents, having been found by this court to lack merit, shallow, empty and bereft of substance to sustain the same, this application is hereby dismissed.”

Editor’s Note: The Nation edition of July 2, 2018, on page 5, published a story with the headline: ‘Lawyer, six others arrested for N250m fraud ‘plot’ from a press release issued by Office of the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ogun State Command.

The paper  regrets any embarrassment the story may have caused Kayode Oshiyemi.