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15 May 2018

Melaye’s assassination attempt: Court drops criminal charges against defendants

A Kogi State High Court on Tuesday struck out the assassination case involving the chairman, Association of Local Government of Nigeria, Taofiq Isa, and four others for want of diligent prosecution.

This was the decision of the trial judge, Fola Ajayi, who regretted that despite four adjournments, the prosecution was not able to call their witnesses.

Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district in the National Assembly had, in April 2017, approached the court alleging an assassination attempt on his life by Taofiq Isa and four others.

Others standing trial alongside Isa are: Ade Obege, Abdullahi Isah, Michael Bamidele and Ahmed Ajayi.

But ruling on the matter, the trial judge, Fola Ajayi, noted with regrets that the prosecution counsel could not open his case despite four adjournments.

He, therefore, struck out the case for lack of diligent prosecution.

He, however, gave a consequential order for the prosecution to start their case afresh whenever they are ready.

Speaking on behalf of defense counsels, Zakari Abbas commended the judge for the landmark judgment.

He said that the judge, having listened to all parties, said that the petitioners were unwilling to present their witnesses, prompting the judge to arrive at the conclusion that the prosecution has not diligently pursued their case.

“Hence, the charge brought against the defendants have been struck out. As it stands, there is no criminal charges against the defendants.

“However, he gave a consequential order that whenever they are ready with their witnesses, they could approach the court to start their case afresh.”

Reacting to the ruling, Mr. Taofiq Isa, who is the administrator of Ijumu Local Government Area, expressed joy and described the ruling as “an act of God,” saying that the judiciary still remains the hope of the common man.

He said he has forgiven those who accused him wrongly and called on all Okun sons and daughters to come together in the interest of the development of the area.

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