Law News
Osokogwu’s murder: I made confessional statements under duress, suspect tells court

Okwumo Nwabufor, one of the suspects in the murder of Cynthia Osokogwu, on Wednesday, alleged before an Igbosere High Court in Lagos, that the police tortured him into making a confessional statement.

Nwabufor, while being cross-examined by a defence counsel, Mr Michael Ajayi, said the police threatened his life and tortured him into making written and video taped confessional statements.

“The police tortured and threatened me into admitting that I and Olisa Chidera (the second defendant) committed the crime.

“There is no truth in my statement to the police about what actually transpired.

“I made those admissions in my confessional statement because I feared for my life,’’ he said.

When asked by Ajayi about nude photos of Osokogwu’s corpse that were found by the police in his laptop computer, Nwabufor alleged that the police planted the photos in the laptop.

“When the police searched my residence, they took my iPhone and my iPad. They must have put the photographs into the laptop,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Nwabufor, 35, alongside Olisa Chidera, 25, Orji Osita 34 and Ejike Ifechukwu , 26, were standing trial before Justice Olabisi Akinlade.

The men were accused of the murder of their 24-year-old Facebook friend, Miss Cynthia Osokogwu, on July 22, 2012.

Osokogwu, a postgraduate student of Nasarawa State University, was murdered at Cosmilla Hotel, Lake View Estate, Festac Town, Lagos State, on the above date.

A mild drama, however, ensued in court which stalled the trial because Ajayi, the defence counsel for Chidera was unwilling to cross-examine Chidera when he took the witness stand.

“My Lord, I am unwilling to open cross-examination of my client because he is ill with severe stomach pains.

“He reported to me this morning that he was sick,’’ Ajayi told the court.

Akinlade then registered her displeasure at Ajayi’s unwillingness to start the cross-examination of the accused.

“Mr Ajayi has not been diligent in the prosecution of this matter, at every proceeding you always come up with one excuse or the other.

“A medical report has not been produced and shown to the court to prove the ill health of your client,’’ she said.

The prosecution, led by the Attorney-General of Lagos State, Mr Ade Ipaye, however, had to agree to an adjournment.

“In circumstances like this, we must concede to an adjournment because the accused must be in a right frame of health and mind when giving his testimony.”

“However, a medical report should have been shown to my team ahead of time because we have been in the courtroom before 9a.m,’’ Ipaye said.

Akinlade was said to have given a stern warning to Ajayi before she adjourned the case to Feb. 18 for continuation of trial.

“Mr Ajayi, this is the last time the court will oblige you,’’ she warned.

NAN reported that Ajayi, had earlier made an attempt to stall court proceedings during the last trial held on Dec. 12, 2014.

The counsel had requested for a stay in the court proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal he filed at the Court of Appeal.

Akinlade had then rejected the request, saying that justice in the case must be served speedily.

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