8 Persons Docked Over Murder Of Sunny Etchie

By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

8 Persons accused of the murder of Okhaigele of Kolokolo Community, in Ologbo Dukedom , Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area ,Edo State, Nigeria , Mr Sunny Etchie on Wednesday took turns to take their Pleas at the dock following rejection of their motion to stall proceedings or outright dismissal of the case.

The 8 accused Persons include the main Suspect, and the Iyatsere of Warri, Chief Johnson Atseleghe , Oluwa Esimijie, 38, Ayokotse Robinson – 54, Mofe Samuel – 40, Felicia Otikpere, female – 55 and Ayuwa Mofe – 65

Others are Nosa Omoregie – 54 and Benjamin Erewa – 39.

Before the 8 accused Persons took their Pleas , Lead Counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN,
Ighedosa Imadegbelo , leading, Bamidele Abinon and O T Okeke had argued a motion where he prayed the Court to discountenance the entire hearing and dismiss the charges pending when the investigation of the case by the office of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Adamu Mohammed which has taken over the case is completed.

Ighedosa Imadegbelo ,SAN, who based his arguments on Section 215 and 167 subsection D of the Police Act, and quoting amongst others Justice Uwaifo on Gani Faweyehimi Versus the IGP and Abidoye Page 23, Okuruakpor versus the State said it was completely wrong to arrest a Suspect and arraign same before the Police look for evidence to do so.

He added that the investigation from the IGP’ s Office has agreed that the Statements of 5 of 5 of the accused Persons were obtained under sever duress while some of the Complainants and Witnesses especially one Darlington Origboye who were invited to the Force headquarters in Abuja have since disappeared into thin Air.
The SAN observed that the Prosecution Police Officers submitted to their Offices reports with grave inconsistencies explaining that whereas the one submitted on the 27/06/2020 acknowledged that investigations were completed, the report submitted on the 29/06/2020 stated contrarily that the reverse was the case.
Imadegbelo SAN, said besides the main Suspect Chief Johnson Atseleghe was not even interrogated in the documents submitted to them ,while the documents were not also signed..
He said in Fulani versus the State ,an unsigned document is Statement can not be tendered in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.

Imadegbelo said further investigation has revealed that preliminary findings by the Prosecutions Officers are unable to establish whether the purported deceased Okaighele ,Sunny Eichie is actually dead or alive and that previous cases as in DPP versus Uti recommended that all Parties must wait for a mandatory 7 Years to declare his death or otherwise Status .

The SAN consequently raised two issues which he said firstly bothered on Jurisdictional abuse of Court process asking the Court to dismiss the case so that the DPP can go and put their House in Order and secondly ,that the Court can not work on Spurious Evidence.

The State Counsel ,Ewemade E Osasu in her Counter Motion asked the Court to sustain the hearing in the case as the laws of Nigeria does not permit the Police to ascertain whether Statements are obtained under duress or not but the Courts.

Barrister Ewemade E Osasu explained that all what the DPP is saying is fresh evidence can always be added to the existing ones adding that demise of the deceased Okaighele is not in contention as Prima facie case has long been established against the Accused particularly the main Suspect, Chief Johnson Atseleghe who was in constant communication with the deceased from when he was kidnapped until he was murdered…..which is a circumstantial evidence.

Ewemade said all they are asking is for the Accused to come and defend or explain their roles in the Murder of Sunny Eichie and urged the Court to take the pleas of the accused who were all present in Court outside to yet be apprehended .

In his rulling, the Presiding Judge ,His lordship Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele struck out the Motion by the defendants and asked them to enter into the dock to take their Pleas.

When the charges which bothered on 4 count charge of wilful damage of Property , conspiracy , kidnapping and murder of Sunny Etchie, the Okhaigele of Kolokolo community the Accused all pleaded not guilty.

His Lordship Honourable Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele consequently adjourned sitting in the case to the 27/91/2021 and 03/02/2021 for continuous hearing .

You will recall that in the suite number B/co/717m/20, the offences of the Accused contravene Sections 324 of he Constitution punishable under the Criminal Code Act , Cap C38, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004, and Section 2 (2) and punishable under section 3 of 00 prohibition (Amendment) Law , 2013 of Edo State.

When News Men approached the Legal Team of the Accused ,they refused interview .but Barrister Mathew Edeghese leading E E Idahosa who are holding brief for the Complainants, told Journalists said that the Court had agreed for the Accused to take their Pleas without further delay reflects that Justice will be served at the end of the day.
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By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin City

8 Persons accused of the murder of Okhaigele of Kolokolo Community, in Ologbo Dukedom , Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area ,Edo State, Nigeria , Mr Sunny Etchie on Wednesday took turns to take their Pleas at the dock following rejection of their motion to stall proceedings or outright dismissal of the case.

The 8 accused Persons include the main Suspect, and the Iyatsere of Warri, Chief Johnson Atseleghe , Oluwa Esimijie, 38, Ayokotse Robinson – 54, Mofe Samuel – 40, Felicia Otikpere, female – 55 and Ayuwa Mofe – 65

Others are Nosa Omoregie – 54 and Benjamin Erewa – 39.

Before the 8 accused Persons took their Pleas , Lead Counsel, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN,
Ighedosa Imadegbelo , leading, Bamidele Abinon and O T Okeke had argued a motion where he prayed the Court to discountenance the entire hearing and dismiss the charges pending when the investigation of the case by the office of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Adamu Mohammed which has taken over the case is completed.

Ighedosa Imadegbelo ,SAN, who based his arguments on Section 215 and 167 subsection D of the Police Act, and quoting amongst others Justice Uwaifo on Gani Faweyehimi Versus the IGP and Abidoye Page 23, Okuruakpor versus the State said it was completely wrong to arrest a Suspect and arraign same before the Police look for evidence to do so.

He added that the investigation from the IGP’ s Office has agreed that the Statements of 5 of 5 of the accused Persons were obtained under sever duress while some of the Complainants and Witnesses especially one Darlington Origboye who were invited to the Force headquarters in Abuja have since disappeared into thin Air.
The SAN observed that the Prosecution Police Officers submitted to their Offices reports with grave inconsistencies explaining that whereas the one submitted on the 27/06/2020 acknowledged that investigations were completed, the report submitted on the 29/06/2020 stated contrarily that the reverse was the case.
Imadegbelo SAN, said besides the main Suspect Chief Johnson Atseleghe was not even interrogated in the documents submitted to them ,while the documents were not also signed..
He said in Fulani versus the State ,an unsigned document is Statement can not be tendered in a Court of Competent Jurisdiction.

Imadegbelo said further investigation has revealed that preliminary findings by the Prosecutions Officers are unable to establish whether the purported deceased Okaighele ,Sunny Eichie is actually dead or alive and that previous cases as in DPP versus Uti recommended that all Parties must wait for a mandatory 7 Years to declare his death or otherwise Status .

The SAN consequently raised two issues which he said firstly bothered on Jurisdictional abuse of Court process asking the Court to dismiss the case so that the DPP can go and put their House in Order and secondly ,that the Court can not work on Spurious Evidence.

The State Counsel ,Ewemade E Osasu in her Counter Motion asked the Court to sustain the hearing in the case as the laws of Nigeria does not permit the Police to ascertain whether Statements are obtained under duress or not but the Courts.

Barrister Ewemade E Osasu explained that all what the DPP is saying is fresh evidence can always be added to the existing ones adding that demise of the deceased Okaighele is not in contention as Prima facie case has long been established against the Accused particularly the main Suspect, Chief Johnson Atseleghe who was in constant communication with the deceased from when he was kidnapped until he was murdered…..which is a circumstantial evidence.

Ewemade said all they are asking is for the Accused to come and defend or explain their roles in the Murder of Sunny Eichie and urged the Court to take the pleas of the accused who were all present in Court outside to yet be apprehended .

In his rulling, the Presiding Judge ,His lordship Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele struck out the Motion by the defendants and asked them to enter into the dock to take their Pleas.

When the charges which bothered on 4 count charge of wilful damage of Property , conspiracy , kidnapping and murder of Sunny Etchie, the Okhaigele of Kolokolo community the Accused all pleaded not guilty.

His Lordship Honourable Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele consequently adjourned sitting in the case to the 27/91/2021 and 03/02/2021 for continuous hearing .

You will recall that in the suite number B/co/717m/20, the offences of the Accused contravene Sections 324 of he Constitution punishable under the Criminal Code Act , Cap C38, Laws of Federation of Nigeria 2004, and Section 2 (2) and punishable under section 3 of 00 prohibition (Amendment) Law , 2013 of Edo State.

When News Men approached the Legal Team of the Accused ,they refused interview .but Barrister Mathew Edeghese leading E E Idahosa who are holding brief for the Complainants, told Journalists said that the Court had agreed for the Accused to take their Pleas without further delay reflects that Justice will be served at the end of the day.
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