By Kayode Adeoti
The magistrate court sitting in Ilorin has refused to grant the application sought by one Alhaji Adewale Lawal as the Olu-Araromi Opin in Ekiti Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The Asolo of Isolo Opin, Oba Raphael Sunday Are, accused the embattled Lawal of self and illegal installation on Araromi-Opin, maintaining that the community is a compound in Isolo, hence it cannot have a different monarch.
Delivering his ruling yesterday, Magistrate Muhammed Ibrahim, said the allegation before him is a chieftaincy matter and is civil in nature, adding that it does not border on criminal matter as it was ‘colourated’.
He also discountenanced the application of Lawal sought by his counsel, Barr. Raphael Ashaolu that magistrate court sitting in Ilorin lack jurisdictions to entertain the matter.
He said, “It is a boundary matter that is given criminal colouration, on whether the magistrate court sitting in Oke-Ero should have tried the matter, going by section 8 of CPC, any magistrate court sitting in the state can try it.
The court further ruled that a private prosecutor have the legality to initiate the case and that the court have the right to redirect it to the police for discreet investigation.
Meanwhile, the court ordered the accused to enter the dock while the charges were read to them. Afterwards, they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumed hearing, the complainant’s counsel, Barr. Olawale Odewale, urged the court in pursuant to section 141, 48 of CPC to refer the matter to the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police in the state, adding that they should carry out proper investigation into it and give the report to the court at the appropriate time.
As regard the issue of bail, Odewale said, “I’m not a persecutor but prosecutor, I’m just doing my job, if they are able to furnish the court with good sureties, they can be admitted to bail.”
He further enjoined the court to impose condition that will make them appear before the court whenever the need arises.
Also, Barr. Adedeji Adebayo who stood in for Ashaolu told the Court that the alleged offence is ordinarily bailable under section 341 (2) of Criminal Procedural Code, adding that the accused are eminent and respectable personalities in their community and they arelaw abiding.
“Section 36 (5) as amended presumed all accused persons innocent,” he said.
The presiding magistrate however adjourned the matter to 14th August, 2017 for mention as he equally invoked section 141 and 148 of the criminal code to refer the case to the police for discreet investigation while the accused were granted bail of N50,000 and reasonable sureties in like sum.
Recall that at the last adjourned day, Barr. Ashaolu argued that his clients whom he called the ‘objectors’ were only in court as a mark of respect, adding that they would not enter the dock.
He further argued that the matter should have been tried at the Magistrate Court, Osi, saying bringing it to Ilorin has a hidden motive.
Also, Barr. Odewale urged the court to discountenance the submission of the accused persons counsel, maintaining that the court has the jurisdiction. According to him, the magistrate court sitting in Ilorin had tried many cases from Kaima local government of the state, Ilorin West and the likes.