Law News
Court strikes out fresh suit on Funsho Williams’ murder

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday struck out an application seeking fresh investigations into the murder of a late governorship aspirant in Lagos, Funsho Williams.

Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who struck out the application for want of diligent prosecution, also awarded a cost of N25,000  against the applicant, Bashir Junaid, a cemetary attendant.

Junaid is to pay the money to the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation, who had asked the court to strike out the matter with cost against the applicant.

Williams, an aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, was on July 27, 2006 strangled to death at his residence, 34A Corporation Drive, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

A Lagos State High Court in Igbosere had, on June 30, 2014,  discharged six men charged with the murder of the late PDP stalwart.

The six men – Bulama Kolo, Musa Maina, David Cassidy, Tunani Sonani, Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariebie – were freed after eight years by Justice Ebenezer Adebajo (retd.), who held that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against them.

Junaid filed the fresh application seeking an order of mandamus compelling the Inspector General of Police to re-open investigations into Williams’ assassination with the hope of possible fresh trial.

In the suit marked FHC/L/CS/137/14, Junaid had fingered as a prime suspect, a former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, against whom the late Williams had run for the office of Lagos Governor before his brutal killing.

Also listed as defendants were the All Progressives Congress legal adviser, Dr. Muiz Banire; Mr. Bаbаtundе Edu; Mr. Dele Alаkе,  Mrѕ.Mоduре Shasore аnd Olаdеlе Ajоmаlе.

Others were the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General of Lagos State and the Lagos Commissioner of Police.

Junaid, who was arrested and detained by the police during preliminary investigation into williams’ death, was seeking compensation for exemplary damages in the sum of N5bn оvеr his alleged illеgаl dеtеntiоn аnd psychological trаumа.

Junaid, in his 48-роint ѕtаtеmеnt оf сlаim, alleged that the police disregarded his freely made statement, which could have assisted to unravel Williams’ killers.

He claimed that the concrete evidence that he tendered were diѕсаrdеd bу thе Fеdеrаl Central Invеѕtigаtiоnѕ Dераrtmеnt, Alagbon, Lagos.

Junaid, who  alleged that Tinubu used his influence with the police to exonerated himself, equally accused the police of compromise by allegedly  allowing Banire to change his statement after he had been cautioned.

When the matter was called in court on Wednesday, the plaintiff’s counsel, Miss O. Benjamin, referring to an earlier order made by the court, said, “My Lord, the matter is for mention today, unfortunately, we’ve not been able to obtain the order as we were told that the court is ill.”

But Ofili-Ajumogobia, who did not take kindly to the comment,  replied, “None of the staff can tell you that the court is ill, because I have never been ill in this division. What kind of illness will make the order not to be signed? A copy of the order is in the file, why would you not come to court and ask for your order? This and such utterances will not be condoned.”

In his own reaction, the counsel for the police IG and the AGF, K. Uwandu, urged the court to strike out the matter for want of diligent prosecution and to award N50,000 cost against the plaintiff.

Also responding, counsel for the 9th defendant, M. Olawoye, equally asked the court to strike the matter out for lack of diligent prosecution, but the counsel did not ask for cost.

Ofili-Ajumogobia, in a bench ruling held, “This matter is struck out for want of diligent prosecution. I award N25,000 cost in favour of the 1st and 4th defendants. I make no order as to cost for the 8th and 9th defendants as the counsel did not specify a definite sum.”

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