Cynthia Osokogu's murder Latest: Magistrate Court orders re-arrest of suspected Pharmacist

A Yaba Magistrate’s Court, Lagos on Tuesday ordered the re-arrest of Orji Osita, one of the pharmacists accused in the murder of Cynthia Osokogu.

Osokogu was allegedly killed in a hotel room in FESTAC area of Lagos by her two Facebook friends on July 22, 2012.

Osita and his pharmacist colleague, Maduakor Chukwunonso alongside Okwumo Nwabufo, Olisaeloka Ezike, Nonso Ezike, Olisaeloka’s younger brother, and Chinonso Ezeaka and Gideon Okechukwu had been charged in connection with the murder.

Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo, of an Ikeja High Court, had on November 20 released Osita and Chukwunonso, after they filed an application to enforce their fundamental human rights.

But at the hearing of the DPP’s advice on Tuesday before Magistrate Olalekan Aka-Bashorun, the officer in charge of the Legal Department of the State Criminal Investigation Department of the Lagos State Police Command, Chukwu Agwu, said the police were served with two different copies of the DPP’s advice.

Agwu said the police were initially furnished with a DPP advice dated November 1 with reference No. LJP/HOM/2012/143/24 before they got another one dated November 16 with reference No. LJP/HOM/2012/143/30.

According to Agwu, the DPP gave the second advice after they made a “representation that the first advice did not articulate all the facts,” adding that the second advice which he claimed to be “superior, correct and authentic” was given in the wisdom of the DPP.

He said, “Following the latest advice, we have another charge for the third defendant (Osita) and I don’t know why he (Osita) and the fourth defendant Chukwunonso are not in court today.”

Agwu also denied the knowledge that a high court had freed the two pharmacists.

Agwu said, “In view of this situation, I urge this honourable court to invoke Section 79 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State and order the arrest of Osita so that he can face the new charge against him.”

Chris Obiaka, lawyer of Osita and Chukwunonso, said the DPP who purportedly issued the second advice on November 16 was duly represented at the Ikeja High Court on November 20 and did not raise an objection to their “unconditional release.”

He said, “We served the police just as we served the DPP the hearing notice at the Ikeja High Court together with the various court processes.

“Now, it’s quite surprising that another advice has emanated from the same office (DPP) and I don’t know whether they obtained further evidence to guide them in this new advice. We urge the court to tread with caution in making any ruling or order.”

Aka-Bashorun, after hearing arguments from parties on the application made by Agwu, said, “Section 79 is hereby invoked and law enforcement agents should compel his attendance before this court at the next adjourned date.”

After the copy of the DPP’s second advice was duplicated and provided to the lawyers of the seven accused persons on the order of the court, Agwu said the advice exonerated Chukwunonso, Okechukwu and Chinonso the fourth, fifth and seventh defendants respectively.

Their lawyers, subsequently applied that they be discharged and released from custody pursuant to Section 72(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State 2011.

Ruling on this, Aka-Bashorun granted their prayers saying, “The fourth, fifth and seventh defendants are hereby released unconditionally from the Ikoyi Prison custody.”

In the first advice signed by M.B. Olaniyi, on behalf of the DPP, it was stated that no prima facie case of any criminal offence was established against Osita.

But the second advice signed by Olayide Eboda, of the Directorate of Public Prosecution said a “prima facie case of reckless and negligent acts was established against Osita contrary to Section 249 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.”

It added that facts revealed that the second defendant (Olisaeloka) had identified Osita as the “pharmacist who sold the drug, Rohypnol Flunitrazepan, to him without prescription.”

The second DPP advice also stated that there were “sufficient facts to establish a prima facie case of conspiracy to commit murder, murder, conspiracy to commit felony to wit stealing and stealing against Nwabufo and Olisaeloka contrary to sections 231, 221, 409 and 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.”

Also, the DPP in the second advice contended that there was a prima facie case that the sixth defendant (Nonso Ezike) was having in his possession a thing reasonably suspected to have been stolen contrary to Section 327 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

Aka-Bashorun adjourned till December 17 for the ruling on the bail application made by Nonso and Olisaeleko’s lawyers, C.G. Achomadu and O. Dada respectively.