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10 Nov 2017

Family seeks judge’s withdrawal from son’s murder case

The family of an apprentice, Ademola Okuneye, who died from the beating he allegedly received from his master, Samorola Aliyu, in Lugbe, Abuja, has petitioned the Chief Justice of Nigeria over the bail granted to the accused.
Aliyu, an artisan, is standing trial for the alleged murder of his apprentice, Okuneye.

The petitioner and father of the deceased, Prince Adeshina, accused Justice M. Balami of the Federal Capital Territory High Court of perverting justice for releasing Musa on bail without following due process.

A certified true copy of Balami’s ruling dated September 22, 2017 showed that the judge granted  bail to the accused in the sum of N500,000 and a surety in like sum.

Adeshina, in his petition dated October 13, 2017, explained that Aliyu was arraigned before Balami on September 18 and was released from the prison custody barely four days later.

He stated that the judge entertained Aliyu’s arraignment in chambers and not in the open court, which he described as suspicious, adding that the accused later filed a bail application which was heard by Balami without the knowledge of the prosecution counsel, A. Oyeyemi.

“The prosecution counsel filed his counter-affidavit to the motion on notice for bail and when he approached the court on September 25 to know the date for the hearing of the bail application, he was informed that the application had been taken on September 22 by Justice Balami and same was granted without hearing notice served on him,” Adeshina said.

He added that the court clerk on September 25 served on Oyeyemi the hearing notice for the bail application which had been heard and determined by Balami three days earlier.

“This is absurd and a total compromise by Justice Balami without considering my predicament,” the petitioner said.

He demanded sanction against Balami and requested for the re-assignment of the case to a new judge, noting that he may not get justice in Balami’s court.

“I urge the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory to reassign the case to another judge as I know that I would not get justice from Justice Balami.

“In the interest of fair hearing, a copy of this petition is forwarded to the judge,” the petition read.

When contacted for comment, the National Judicial Council spokesman, Mr. Soji Oye, said it was only the Chief Justice of Nigeria that could comment on the petition after the complaints and petition committee might have evaluated the merit or otherwise of the allegations.

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