ELEWEOMO: FOLARIN, 3 OTHERS FILE BAIL APPLICATION
Detained Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin and three others charged with the December 30 murder of the factional leader of the Oyo State National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Alhaji Lateef Salako, alias Eleweomo, yesterday began moves to regain their freedom with the filing of their bail application in an Ibadan High Court.
The application was in pursuant of their release from detention from Agodi Prisons, where they were remanded till January 14 by Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Shakirat Badru before whom they were arraigned on Tuesday over the alleged murder.
Badrudeen had in her short ruling said the remand was necessary to allow proper charges to be filed against the accused persons in a High Court.
The other accused persons were, Ramoni Jayeola Bankole, Olaide Raji and Raimi Ismaila.
The accused persons were alleged to have killed Eleweomo on the fateful day at Ogbere- Olunloyo, Ibadan by shooting him to death at about 11.30 am during a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) local government congress.
Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), counsel to Folarin filed the bail application which was supported by a 44-page affidavit.
The suit number M/8/2011, joined the state Attorney General and the state Commissioner of Police in the bail application. Meanwhile more suspects are to be declared wanted by the police in connection with the assassination despite the arraignment. Oyo State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Baba Adisa Bolanta, who disclosed this during a press briefing at the state police command, Eleyele, Ibadan yesterday also cautioned kinsmen of the detained Senate Leader to 'stop intimidating' him and the Nigeria Police Force over the senator's ordeal, stressing that they were merely doing their constitutional duties.
Alhaji Bolanta said the ongoing trial of Senator Folarin and three others was not the end of the police action on the murder, adding that a host of other hoodlums who actively participated in the killing of the slain NURTW chieftain were going to be declared wanted by the command .
Reacting to the avalanche of criticisms by Folarin's political associates, particularly Senator Lekan Balogun against the police arraignment of the Senate Leader, the police chief alleged mischief and malice on their part, noting that since their was a commission of crime and investigation that linked the suspect to the murder, the law must take its course.Bolanta debunked the allegation of bias and alleged selective prosecution of cases involving Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala and his opponents in the state as charged by Balogun.
He said the deputy to the late Eleweomo, Mukaila Lamidi (a.k.a Auxilliary) was being interrogated at the Iyaganku Police Station following his alleged complicity in the attack and damage of a filling station belonging to the rival leader of the transport workers union, Alhaji Lateef Akinsola Oloruntoki (alias Tokyo).
He said the four security details of the Senate Leader arrested and detained in the wake of the murder were helping the police in their investigations, saying some of the information they volunteered led to Folarin's arrest and his subsequent trial before his remand in prison on Tuesday.
According to him, there was no basis for Folarin's kinsmen to blame the police for his arrest and prosecution since the police had confirmed that the Senate Leader was at the scene of the killing on the fateful day.
Alhaji Bolanta said it was the duty of the Police to arrest and prosecute those implicated, irrespective of their status, stressing that: 'The onus lies on the Senate Leader and the others to prove themselves innocent or otherwise before the court of law, it is not for the Police to prove his innocence or whatever for him.'
'The insinuations being carried about all over the place that nothing happened is false. Something happened, there was a fracas, and somebody died. He was killed by some people. That was confirmed. It is also confirmed that the Senator was at the scene. So the onus is not on anybody but on the people accused that they know nothing about the crime. It is not on me or any other person. The questions are :Whether something happened on that day, whether somebody died and whether the people alleged were actually at the scene of the crime when it happened and what was their mission at the scene on that day and that moment.
Those are the questions that call for answers', the Police Commissioner said.
He said that Nigerians ought to be praising the Nigeria Police for investigating, arresting and commencing prosecution in a case of killing of such magnitude, within such a short period , adding that Nigerians should at all times bear in mind that ''nobody is above the law ''.
''So people are now saying that we are too fast to make the arraignment. We should be commended for the work we have done. There is no frame up here. This is the first time a high profile murder is being charged to court in less than one week. We should be commended rather than being condemned,' he added.