People waited anxiously at the Kwara state High Court for what’s going to unfold in court in the continuation of the hearing of the eight defendants standing trial for alleged rape and murder of a Unilorin Student miss Olajide Omowumi Blessing.
The judge, Justice Ibrahim Yusuf walked into the courtroom at around 9:38am ,with all present rising up to salute his lordship.
Proceeding started at around 9:42am with the Counsels rising to register their appearance in court.
Barrister Shina Ibiyemi, counsel representing the 1st defendant, AbdulAzeez Ismail accused the DSS of using Tasers an electrocuting device and horsewhip were used on the first defendant in order to extract confessional statement from him.
In his reaction, Femi Babalola, the DSS witness, quickly dismissed the accusation as false, stating that the defendants volunteered their confessional statements without any intimidation whatsoever.
“At no point in time did any operative manhandled any of the suspects in order to extract confessional statement from them, torture and harassment are against the law.
“It was AbdulAzeez who volunteered the statement, in verbal and he was asked to write it under cautionary law and he obliged without torture whatsoever.
“He(AbdulAzeez) claimed that he isn’t fluent in English hence asking the operative to rather write the statement for him, which was afterward read to his hearing, word for word, it was affirmed by him that, that is exactly what he said, then he signed and dated the statement.
Barrister Jimoh Lawal the counsel to the 4th defendant Abdulkareem Shuaib and his brother and 5th defendants ,Abdulkareem Rasheed accused the DSS of using a taser, an electrocuting device on the 5th defendant, Rasheed in order to extract statement from him, an allegation the DSS witness, Babalola was quick dismissed.
He also alleged that the mother of the two brothers was denied the chance to see her children but the DSS witness denied the allegation maintaining that the mother never came to their office.
Lawal stressed that the reason for the refusal was because of the states of the defendants after they were said to be battered by the DSS, also cited the same reason for the late invitation of the legal Aid Council of Nigeria who were invited days after their arrest in the 13th of June.
Barr. Saka Ishola, like other counsels pointed out that his client Ajala Timileyin’s face was swollen in the video evidence tagged exhibit 61b, and the DSS officer also affirmed that the face is indeed swollen.
Upon the request of Ishola, Babalola recalled that 3rd defendant Timileyin was arrested on the 12th while he was interrogated on the 15th, confirming that the suspect was held in custody for more than 48hours, whereas the law stated that a suspect must be presented in court within 24 hours.
Barrister Lukman Bello alleged that the 6th defendant Abdulateef Abdulrahman requested an access to a lawyer, a request that was said to be rebuffed hence denying him his right to an attorney at that moment, DSS operative, Babalola also denied the allegation, stating that the operatives even inquired if he has a legal representation but his answer was no.
Bello also alleged that the statement credited to the 8th defendant, Akande Oladoja, was not written by him ,Babalola also dispelled the allegation, stating that he volunteered to write it by himself since he can write properly.
Echoing the allegations by other counsels, said the agency tortured Akande in order to extract confession from him.”He was tortured with electrical device and he was tortured by the operatives of the DSS”.
Barr. Imam Ayegbami, representing the 7th defendant, Daud Bashir, alleged that an operative of the DSS by the name Rasheed was the first to interrogate him on the 13th June ,while Babalola denied knowing any operatives by the name Rasheed.
He also accused the DSS of being short staffed, citing the fact that only Babalola was manning the responsibilities of three officers in the case as the Officer in charge, Interpreter and the witness.
Ayegbami also noted that the 7th defendant stated that he was not aware that the said stolen Samsung phone was a stolen phone until he got to the DSS office, a fact that was missing in the statement presented by prosecution.
The Tuesday trial of 24th of September, 2021 was a spill over of Monday’s hearing after the adjournment and the Honourable court later adjourned the case to 23rd and 24th of September, 2021 for further hearing.