An All Progressive Congress, APC governorship aspirant, and Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola’s aide were on Tuesday arraigned before an Ebute Meta Chief Magistrate’s Court on murder charges in a political opponent’s death.
Former Commissioner for Rural Development and a governorship aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Tola Kasali, 62, and the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Politics and Legislative Matters, Musiliu Folami, 64, and Kasali’s Chief Security Officer, Tobun Abiodun, 38, were alleged to have killed a People’s Democratic Party’s member, one Musiliu Ogboye Lamidi at Eko Tourism Hotel at Akodo in Ibeju-Lekki on November 9, 2014.
The suspects were also accused of being in possession of an unregistered firearm.
At the announcement of appearance by the counsel in the matter, the police prosecutors who included Mr. G. O. Osuji, Nosa N and Inspector George Nwosu, told the court that there was a remand application from the police for the detention of the accused pending an advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecution, DPP.
However, after Osuji had announced their appearance, Mr. Femi Adamson, a senior State Counsel, also announced his appearance as a prosecutor in the matter.
Adamson told the court that the state wished to take over the prosecution of the case from the police. But the police prosecutors said that the matter was an application for remand, arguing that the state could only take over the case if the accused had been properly arraigned.
He however conceded to the state’s counsel request and stepped aside.
Adamson informed the court that he had the application for the remand of the accused pending when the DPP would issue an advice on the matter.
Counsel to the accused, Mr. Taiwo Ajala, however, urged the court to grant them bail on self-recognition because of their social status. He told the court that the first accused, (Folami Musiliu), is a Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor, and the second accused, (Tola Kasali), was a former Commissioner for Rural Development, and later for Special Duties, while the third accused (Tobun A. Lukman) is a chief security officer to political bigwig in the state.
He said the charges against the accused were just mere rumours and that the accused were still presumed to be innocent until proven by the law court. He added that remanding them would draw back the good services they were rending to the state.
Following the submission of the accused counsel, the chief magistrate in his ruling stated: “What is before the court is a request to remand. The police that brought the case have refused to support same. That is why the defendants’ counsel referred to the application as a mere rumour.
“If the accused movement is restricted, it will be serious discomfort for them and those who associate with them. The court of law should be seen to do justice. The reasons given by the prosecution are not reliable and cannot sustain the charge.
“The defence counsel asked for the bail based on their social standing and circumstances. The court sees the accused as those who will uphold the law and order of the land, hence, the court have confidence in their ability to show up when they are needed. So, they are hereby granted bail in self-recognition,” he ruled.
The Chief Magistrate however ordered the prosecution to duplicate the case file and forward it to DPP for advice and adjourned the matter till December 11.