By Michael Ojo
A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday adjourned till January 28, for the arraignment of the leader of Aswani International Market, Chief Taoreed Farounbi, popularly called Baba Alado, and six other for alleged terrorism.
Justice Muslim Hassan fixed the date following the inability of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to serve the charge sheet on Baba Alado and five others.
Apart from Baba Alado, the other defendants are Alhaji Olusegun Akeem Akinde (A.K.A. Echo), Mr. Ayokunle Fakiyesi, Mr. Idowu Akinde, Musiliu Oladejo, Mr. Lekan Matthew and Mr. Adeleke Akinjeji.
According to a three count-charge marked FHC/L/279c/2020, the defendants and others on the run committed the offences on March 19.
They were accused of conspiring and participating in terrorist acts, which led to the killing of two men, Debo Olohunyo and Chibuzor Daniel, at the White Sand area of Isheri-Osun, Lagos State.
It was also alleged that they caused attacks which led to destruction of many properties in the area.
The offences, according to the AGF, contravened Section 1(2) (a) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended by Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act 2013.
During yesterday’s proceedings, the AGF brought only Lekan Matthew before the judge.
Prosecution counsel Mr A. K. Alilu told the court that Baba Alado and five other defendants had not been seen since they were granted administrative bail by the police.
The State Chief Counsel said they also failed to honour police invitation for the purpose of serving them the charge sheet.
He applied for a summons to be issued against them, to cause them to appear for trial. Alilu also applied for leave to serve the charge sheets on the defendants through their counsel, who were in court.
He prayed for an order remanding Matthew in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS), till trial date.
But defence counsel, Mr. M.B Jimoh-Akogun, opposed him.
Jimoh-Akogun said that his clients’ absence was not deliberate, but that they were under the impression that correct date for yesterday’s proceedings was December 16.
He agreed to accept the charge sheet on behalf of his clients and pledged to make the defendants available on the next adjourned date.
In a bench ruling, Justice Hassan ordered that the charge sheet be served on the defendants’ lawyers. He remanded Matthew in NCS custody pending arraignment on January 28.