Lagos Court Frees APC Chieftain & 2 Others From Murder Charge

An Ebute Meta Chief Magistrates’ Court on Thursday in Lagos discharged and acquitted an APC chieftain, Tola Kasali, 63, and two others over alleged murder and possession of firearms.

The magistrate, E. O. Ogunkanmi, made the pronouncement after he had read an advice from the office of the State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The two other accused are Folami Musiliu, 65, a Special Adviser to the Lagos State Government and Tobun Abiodun Lukman, 35, the Chief Security Officer to one of the APC chieftains in the state.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kasali was a former Commissioner for Special Duties and former governorship aspirant on the platform of the APC in Lagos State.

Kasali and the two other persons were first arraigned on November 11, 2014, on charges bordering on conspiracy, attempted murder, murder and illegal possession of fire arms.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Thursday, Jonathan Ogunsanya, the prosecutor and a Senior State Counsel in the Lagos State Ministry of Justice, informed the court of an advice signed by the DPP, E. I. Alakija, and urged the court to effect this.

Ogunkanmi read out a part of the advice dated March 31 and recommending the discharge of the first, second and third defendants as no case was preferred against them.

“The first to third defendants are hereby discharged and the case is hereby struck out, “ he said.

After reading out the DPP’s advice, Ogunkanmi pronounced the three defendants discharged and acquitted.

Kunle Odufayo, the counsel to Kasali, said that there was nothing special about the case, adding that the DPP’s advice equally confirmed his client’s position and innocence.

Odufayo said that with the outcome of the case, the judiciary had further demonstrated that it remained the last hope of the common man.

He said that since the law did not allow for self help, everyone had to ventilate his or her rights.

At the last adjourned date, the DPP had ordered the police to conduct further investigations into the alleged murder charges leveled against the three persons.

An advice dated December 9th, 2014, and signed by the Lagos State DPP,Olabisi Ogungbesan, had compelled the police to conduct thorough investigation into the matter.

The letter said that the evidence in the case file could not sustain the charges leveled against the three accused persons.

NAN reports that the men were alleged to have conspired among themselves and with some others now at large to have shot and killed one Musiliu Ogboye Lamidi on November 9th, 2014, at Akodo in Ibeju-Lekki Local Government Areaof the state during the collection of Permanent Voters Cards.

They were also alleged to have been in possession of a pump action Avar Magnum gun with registration No 6381, without appropriate authority.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened Sections 211, 231, 409 of theCriminal Law of Lagos State, 2011 and Section 27 (b)(1) of the Fire Arm Act. Cap 28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2011.

The court did not take the plea of the accused persons, although MagistrateOlatunbosun Abolarinwa, who was holding brief for Ogunkanmi, granted them bail on self recognition.

The counsel to Kasali had urged the court to admit the accused persons to bail due to their social status.

When the accused persons were charged before the court, the then prosecutor,Femi Adamson, a Senior State Counsel and now a judge, had informed the court that the matter should be referred to the DPP for legal advice.

Adamson also advised the court prosecutor to verify the addresses of the accused persons.

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