Pa Rewane: Court frees murder suspect after 15yrs
A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere on Monday discharged and acquitted two persons who had been standing trial for 15 years over the murder of Pa Alfred Rewane, a chieftain of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO).
The court freed Lucky Igbinovia and Effong Elemi-Edu on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove its case against them beyond reasonable doubt.
Delivering his judgment, Justice Olusola Williams held that the only evidence the prosecution relied on were the statements allegedly made by the defendants which the duo later said they were coerced to make.
The court held that the prosecution was unable to support its case, as it gave no evidence to support the charges against the defendants. 'I wonder what the overwhelming evidence the prosecution referred to. The only things that linked the accused persons to the alleged crime are the statements, which they have denied. It is quite plain that there was nothing to support the case of the prosecution;
'It appears to me that, all what the police did was to visit the scene of the crime and arrested workers of the late Pa Rewane. There was no evidence to support the alleged statements the prosecution relied on. I cannot rely on the statement brought by the prosecution. The charges against the defendants failed,' Justice Williams said.
Consequently, the court discharged and acquitted the two defendants.
The defendants had earlier filed a-no case submission through their lawyer, Moses Odiri but the court had only discharged Elvis Irenuma, a co-defendant on the ground that the evidence brought by the prosecution could not link him to the crime.
However, all the other five defendants in the trial had died in prison custody while awaiting trial. They include Sylvester Iyasele, Saturday Egbeide, Ola Obanuso, Akeem Ali, and Sunday Obanobi. They had been arrested and charged on a two-count-charge of conspiracy and murder.
The prosecution alleged that they murdered Pa Alfred Rewane at his home, No 100, Oduduwa Crescent, GRA, Ikeja on October 6, 1995. One of the freed detainees, Elemi-Edu, had told the court while being cross examined that on that fateful day, he was on his way to buy suya for his wife around 8.45pm when he heard gunshots and took cover.
According to him, after the gunshots died down and he was going home, four men in mufti pounced on him and threatened to shoot him if he should run. At first, he thought they were robbers.
'I was screaming and wondering what would the robbers get from me other than the N5 note I had budgeted for suya. They ignored my protests, rained more blows on me and shoved me and a few other persons into their van and drove to a place I later recognised as SARS, at Oba Akinjobi Street, Ikeja,' he said.