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Set me free – Bamaiyi tells court

Posted by By OLA AGBAJE on 2008/03/14 | Views: 605 |

Set me free – Bamaiyi tells court

Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd), on Monday asked a Lagos High Court to set him free of criminal charges preferred against him.

Former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd), on Monday asked a Lagos High Court to set him free of criminal charges preferred against him.

Bamaiyi is standing trial for conspiracy and attempted murder of The Guardian Publisher, Alex Ibru, in February 1996 and the 1997 alleged assassination bid on the life of one Isaac Porbeni.

Bamaiyi’s counsel, Osahon Idemudia in his final address urged the court to discharge and acquit the former military boss on all the four-count charge preferred against him on the ground that the prosecution has failed to prove any of the alleged offence.

Arguing the innocence of the accused, Idemudia contended that the failure of the prosecution to tender any exhibit in spite of calling seven witnesses was fatal to the case of the prosecution while noting that the failure to call the remaining ten witnesses listed by the prosecution did not help the move to secure a conviction against the accused.

He contended that the seven witnesses called by the prosecution are unbelievable and their testimonies should not be taken serious since they were all accomplices in the alleged crime.

Picking holes in the case of the prosecution, Osahon said: “Mention must be made of the failure of the state to call C. Obono the ballistician, and the failure of the state to tender in evidence the ballistic report and the three empty shells of 5.39 ammunition believed to have been recovered from the crime scene.

“No evidence of investigation was preferred, neither did the state oblige the defence team with the Special Investigation Panel (SIP) report, documents annexed to the extra judiciary statement of accused person, proceedings despite numerous reminders, which were copied the court.”
He pointed out the specific contradiction in the testimonies of prosecution witnesses, particularly the testimonies of Captain N. I. Najafa (PW 6) and Sunday Michibi (PW 7), who gave contradictory account of their mission to Asaba.

According to the defence counsel, while Michibi claimed that their mission to Asaba was to assassinate Porbeni, Najafa claimed to the contrary, stating that the mission was a normal security surveillance which did not include assassination of any person.

Also, the defence noted the contradiction in the two witnesses testimonies with regards to the procurement and passage of the weapons allegedly used for the operation.

“We submit that the contradictions in the testimonies of PW 6 and PW 7 on the motive of the Asaba trip having not been explained by the prosecution through any of its witnesses, this honourable court cannot pick and choose from the evidence which the court believe should be regarded as worthless,” he argued.

Urging the court to discountenance with the testimony of Sgt. Bernabas Tabilla (a.k.a. Rogers), Idemudia submitted that he (Rogers), made two extra-judicial testimonies to the police, dated May 27, 1999 and September 29 respectively where he did not mention Bamaiyi as the one that sent them on any of the killing assignments.

According to the defence counsel, Rogers subsequent mentioning the accused person in connection with the crime was motivated by something other than the truth and the interest of justice.
On the shooting of Ibru, the defence counsel argued that there was no piece of evidence that link the accused person with the alleged crime.

Specifically, he anchored his defence on the testimony of Muhammed Katako PW 2 who he said testified that the accused was not involved in the crime while answering question under cross-examination.

He stated that Katako’s testimony could not be relied upon, having contradicted himself with his previous testimony when the matter was before Justice Ade Alabi.

Consequently, Osahon submitted that with the series of contradiction and conflicting testimonies of the prosecution witness, the prosecution “had failed to at all, let alone beyond reasonable doubt the said offences against the accused person.
The trial judge, Justice Joseph Oyewole has adjourned further trial till March 17, 2008.

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