Alleged murder: Judge adjourns case for non-availability of counsel for accused
THE celebrated case of Damilola Olusolade, a former staff of a federal government-owned news medium, who allegedly killed his friend, Ifedayo Adebisi on December 2, 2009, and took over his newly-bought Tokunbo Mitsubishi Space Wagon car, had to be adjourned again when the case came up, on Tuesday, May 15, as there was no counsel to represent the accused.
When the case was called at Court Nine, Oyo State High Court, the state counsel, Barrister I.O. Tijani told the presiding judge, Justice Oyelaran that that would be the fifth appearance of the accused in court but he had no counsel.
Justice Oyelaran asked Damilola why this was so and he replied that his mother promised to send a lawyer but he could not see anyone. He added that a lawyer came to him in the prisons from Legal Aid Council a week before the hearing, and promised to send a lawyer to represent him, but that had not been also.
It was at that point that the Secretary of Nigerian Bar Association, Oyo State branch, Mr Olaniyan, who was present in the court, stood up to say that the Pro Bono committee of the NBA would take the case up if furnished with the address of the accused’s mother.
In line with the offer, Justice Oyelaran asked the prisons to furnish the NBA with the requested address so that the accused could have legal representation when the case comes up again. She adjourned the case till June 19 for mention and said the accused should continue to be remanded in prison custody. Three witnesses to the case were in court but were not called.
It would be recalled that the accused confessed to strangulating his bosom friend, Ifedayo on December 2, 2009 on their way back from Lagos where he accompanied the deceased to purchase a car. Not only did he kill his friend and dumped his body in the bush along the expressway, Damilola also confessed to registering the deceased’s car in his own name and even invited friends to rejoice with him on the purchase of a new car.
Efforts of the deceased’s family to trace him through his ‘bosom friend’ proved abortive as he claimed ignorant of his whereabouts. However, the bubble b urst when detectives from the State Criminal Investigative Department, Iyaganku discovered during investigations that the accused still used the deceased’s sim card on December 3 and 7, 2009 to call the car dealers who sold the vehicle to his friend, that the gear was not working well.
When faced with evidences that he should know his friend’s whereabouts, Damilola caved in and confessed to his crime, saying he did not know what made him commit the act because Ifedayo was his dear friend who did not offend him in any way. He declared peace upon himself after the confession, saying “My friend used to eat from my pot. If I had the intention of killing him, I could have poisoned him, which I did not do. After killing him, I went back to the spot where I dropped his corpse and saw his decomposing body with the cloth torn. Since then, I had not travelled to Lagos because I could not bring myself to pass through that place.
“I regret my action but I can’t really say what came over me. Why my friend? He was the breadwinner of the family. Now my family has deserted me. I have disappointed everyone of them. My mother and my wife were just weeping. Well, whatever happens, I know that God is a merciful One and will still accept me even if I have to die.”
Speaking with Crime Features within the High Court premises, the mother of the deceased, Mrs Funmilayo Adebisi Alale appealed to the government to let justice prevail over the murder of her son. “What Damilola has done to me is too much. Since Ifedayo’s death, I have not been at peace and my health has failed. I cry every day as Damilola has thrown the entire family into turmoil with his action,” she said.
Also, Ifedayo’s immediate younger sister, Oladeji Adebisi said. “Damilola should also be asked what my brother did to him that made him kill him. He should also be prevailed on to return my brother’s laptop, phone, documents and vehicle that are with him. Again, Damilola should tell us where Ifedayo’s corpse is because it has not been found till date. My brother was the breadwinner of the family and his gruesome murder is a deep pain for us,”she said.