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26 Jul 2017

Police arraign LG worker for sharing name with UK woman

There was confusion at an Akure Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ondo State after the police arraigned a local government worker, Mercy Oluwafeyibunmi, for alleged perjury.
The Chief Magistrate, Ayodeji Akinsanya, asked the mother of three for her name, which she stated as Mercy  Adetokunbo Oluwafeyibunmi.

Akinsanya, however, observed that the name she gave was different from the one on the charge sheet, urging the police to correct whatever was wrong in the charge.

PUNCH Metro had reported that Mercy and her ex-lover, Bankole Ogunnowo, who is based in the United Kingdom, had a daughter together after a brief relationship.

The duo separated and got married to different spouses.

However, Bankole had a marital crisis with his wife in London, UK, which led to a separation.

He was seeking rights to the child his estranged UK wife had for him when the latter told a London court that he was not to be trusted with children as he had done Female Genital Mutilation on his first daughter, Damilola, which he had with Mercy in Nigeria.

Bankole, who reportedly worked with children in the UK, became afraid for his job and contacted Mercy.

The 35-year-old was said to have gone to an Ondo State High Court where she swore to an affidavit, clearing Bankole of the allegation, including stating that FGM was a criminal offence in Nigeria.

She gave her name in the affidavit as Mercy Adetokunbo Oluwafeyibunmi.

However, Bankole’s wife sent a representative to a court in Ondo to swear to a counter-affidavit, accusing Mercy of stealing her middle name, Adetokunbo.

Mercy’s husband, Nicholas, had told PUNCH Metro that she was arrested by the police while going to pick their children at school.

She was subsequently taken to the Ondo State Police Command from where she was moved to the Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department Annex, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos State.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the FCIID, Mr. Abutu Yaro, had told our correspondent that he did not know the reason for Mercy’s arrest.

Our correspondent was told that the Commissioner of Police in charge of Interpol, CP Olushola Subair, was the one acting on the counter-affidavit.

Two days after PUNCH Metro reported the case, Mercy was moved back to Ondo State by the Investigating Police Officer, Sergeant Ebong Emmanuel, of the FCIID, Alagbon.

She was reportedly prevented from communicating with any family members until they arrived at the Ondo State Police Command, from where she was moved to the magistrate’s court around 3pm.

The police arraigned her on three counts of perjury and conspiracy, stating that her actual name was Joy Mary Adetokunbo Oluwafeyibunmi, which created confusion.

The charges read, “That you, Oluwafeyibunmi Adetokunbo Mary Joy, and others at large, on or about November 27, 2015, at the Ondo State High Court, in the Ondo Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony, to wit; perjury.

“That you….did swear to an affidavit, dated November 27, 2015, that you are Mrs. Mercy Adetokunbo Oluwafeyibunmi, knowingly that the testimony was false….

“That you… did swear to an affidavit, dated November 27, 2015, that you are Mrs. Mercy  Adetokunbo Oluwafeyibunmi, knowing that all facts stated therein are false and same were deposed to assist one Bankole Oni Ogunnowo in a case pending before a central family court in the United Kingdom.”

The police said the offences were punishable under sections 37, 516 and 118 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37, Vol 1, Law of Ondo State, Nigeria, 2006.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected summary trial.

The police prosecutor, Bakare Ibrahim, asked the court to remand the defendant in prison.

The defence counsel, Kehinde Aladedutire, opposed the application, urging the court to grant her bail.

He said Mercy had been in police custody for about 14 days unjustly and described the charges as frivolous.

The chief magistrate, Akinsanya, who chided the police for the confusion in the charge sheet after asking Mercy for her name, threatened to strike out the charges.

He also wondered why the complainant was not in court as required by the law.

He granted the defendant bail in the sum of N100,000, with one surety in like sum and adjourned the case till August 21, 2017.

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