By Bimbo Akindunbi & Bamidele Kolawole
Trial commenced yesterday at an Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure in the murder case against the two alleged suspected killers of late Prof. Albert Adeoye Ilemobade, a one-time Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).
The late educationist was allegedly brutally murdered in his residence in Ijapo Estate, Akure, by his former driver, Olayemi Bamitale and his security guard, Daniel Ita Effiom sometimes in June this year.
Effiom and Bamitale were brought before Justice Williams Olamide, over three-count charge ranging from conspiracy to commit murder, murder and robbery.
Prior to their arraignment at the court yesterday, the duo had appeared before the Magistrate Court from where the case was transferred to the High Court, following a legal advice from the State Ministry of Justice that they have a case to answer.
In a case between the State and the accused persons, the duo were alleged of conspiring to murder one Prof Albert Ilemobade on June 21, 2005, at No. 1, Ikere Street, Ijapo Estate, in the Akure Judicial Division.
The offence, according to the prosecution, contravened Section 324 of the Criminal Code, Cap. 37, Vol. 1, Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.
The second count in the statement and particulars of offence read that ” Daniel Ita Effiom, ‘M’, Olayemi Bamitale ‘M’ on or about 21st of June, 2015 at No. 1, Ikere Street, Ijapo Estate, Akure did murder one Professor Albert Adeoye Ilemobade by strangulating him to death.
Prosecution also said the offence of murder was contrary to Section 319 of the Criminal Code Cap. 37, Vol. Laws of Ondo State of Nigeria, 2006.
The accused persons were further alleged of using violence to rob the deceased of his Toyota RAV 4, Laptop, Ipad and the sum of N7,000, contrary to Section 1 (2) (b) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap. R. 11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
The charges were read to each of the accused persons who pleaded not guilty to the offences. Barristers AbdulRahman Yussuf and Toyin Asake, both senior legal officers with the Legal Aid Council appeared for them.
The state prosecution team was led by Barrister (Mrs) Adesola Adeyemi-Tuki, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) in the State Ministry of Justice and Barr. (Mrs) Bunmi Arajuwa, the Deputy DPP, Koyenikan, Jumoke Ogunjebi, Ope Taiwo, Senior Legal Officer.
Trial began immediately after the plea of the accused was taken.
Two of the four prosecution witnesses testified and were cross-examined by the defence counsel.
The first prosecution witness (PW1), and one of the sons of the deceased, Mr. Adeseni Ilemobade, told the court that he knew Effiom and Bamitale as former domestic staff of his late father.
According to him, Effiom was his late father’s former driver until he was relieved of his job after he stole his father’s Hyundai car, which was later retrieved from him.
Ilemobade said despite the fact that his late father even bailed Effiom, he threatened that the battle line was drawn.
Insp. Sikiru Lawal , the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), the second prosecution witness in his testimony, narrated the confessions of the accused persons in the Police First Information Report (FIRS) obtained from them.
There was a mild drama when the statement of the second accused persons was tendered before the court. Effiom, who denied the signature on the statement, was given a sheet of paper to sign again.
The judge, in his ruling held that the signature on the first statement of the accused was the same with the one he signed before him.
Insp. Sikiru, further told the court that some other items recovered from the accused persons include : Toyota RAV 4, handsets, Laptops and medical instruments the deceased used to monitor his health.
The prosecution thereafter asked for a brief adjournment to enable them present the two remaining witness.
Justice Olamide , thereafter , adjourned the matter till October 27, this year for further trial.