Lagos DPP Withdraws Murder Charges against Ex-Commissioner

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The Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions on Thursday asked the state’s magistrates’ court siting in Ebute-metta to discharge a former Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties, Tola Kasali, accused of murder and illegal possession of firearms.

Kasali, Folami Musiliu and Tobin Lukman, who were all taken before the court by the police on November 11, 2014, on the allegations, were all discharged by the court on Thursday, following the DPP’s advice.

The Police Special Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba had in the charges filed against them alleged that the men with some persons at large conspired and killed one Musiliu Lamidi.

The victim was said to have been shot dead by the accused and some persons at large on November 9, 2014, at the Akodo, Ibeju-Lekki, area of the state during the collection of Permanent Voter Card.

The police alleged that the accused were armed with a pump action Avar Magnum gun with number 6381, without appropriate authorisation.

According to the police, the men were liable to being punished under sections 231, 211, 409 and section 27 (b)(1) of the Firearms Act. Cap 28 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2011.

At the first appearance of the accused in court last year, the prosecution led by Mr. Femi Adamson, now a judge of the high court, had informed the court that the DPP’s advice on the case was still being awaited.

The court, while adjourning for the DPP’s advice, had, however, admitted the accused person to bail.

By the DPP’s advice dated December 9, 2014, issued by the former Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Mrs. Olabisi Ogungbesan, the police had been advised to conduct further and more thorough investigation into the matter.

Ogungbesan had said that the evidence filed by the police could not sustain the charges filed against the three accused persons.

At the resumed proceedings on Thursday, the state prosecuting counsel, Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya, brought to the attention of the presiding magistrate, Mr. E. O. Ogunkanmi, a DPP’s advice issued and signed by the current Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. E. I. Alakija.

Ogunsaya, who stated that the content of the fresh advice was the position of the state in the matter, urged the court to effect same.

Referring to the fresh DPP’s advice dated March 31, 2015,”recommending the discharge of first, second and third defendants, as no case is against them,” Ogunkanmi held, “The first to third defendants are hereby discharged, and case is hereby struck out.”

Speaking on the outcome of the case, Kasali’s lawyer, Mr. Kunle Odufayo, lauded the DPP’s advice and the following ruling of the court, saying it had confirmed his position that the police had no case against his client.

Odufayo said with the outcome of the case, the judiciary still remained the last hope of the common man.

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