Bamise Murder: Okada Ban Stalls BRT Driver’s Trial

The trial of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver Andrew Ominnikoron, accused of the rape and murder of a 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, was stalled at the Lagos State High Court, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) on Wednesday.

Prosecution officials told Justice Sherifat Sonaike that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS) – in whose custody Ominnikoron is – did not produce him in court following security concerns about the ban on commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada.

Lagos Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on May 18, 2022, announced the ban on okada operations in six Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) – Ikeja, Surulere, Lekki, Eti-Osa, Mainland, Lagos Island and Apapa.

The Lagos State High Court, Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), is on Lagos Island while the NCoS keeps custody of remanded suspects such as Ominnikoron at its Ikoyi or Apapa facilities.

The Okada ban came into effect on Wednesday.

The Nation learnt that following the development and security reports of a planned protest by the affected motorcyclists which was feared could cause a breakdown of law and order, NCoS Controller Mr. Adebisi Adewale, suspended the conveyance of inmates to courts in the State.

Lagos Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins, noted the NCoS’ security concerns when the case was called.

Dr Martins, after announcing his appearance, said: “I don’t think the defendant’s counsel Abayomi Omotubora, is here and the Correctional Service did not bring inmates to court because of the Okada ban and security reasons, but we have three witnesses in court.

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“The second prosecution witness (PW2), who needs to finish giving his evidence, and two other witnesses are in court. I humbly request that today’s (Wednesday’s) date be vacated and adjourned to other dates that have already been fixed.”

Justice Sonaike granted his prayer and adjourned till June 7 and 9, for the continuation of trial.

“The prosecution is hereby directed to inform the defence counsel and the court registrar directed to inform the prisons to produce the defendant on the next adjourned day,” the judge said.

Ominnikoron, 47, is facing a five-count charge of rape, conspiracy, felony, sexual assault, and murder preferred against him by the Lagos State Government.

According to the charge, the incident occurred on February 26, 2022, at about 7pm, near the Lekki- Ajah Conservation Centre, Lekki-Ajah Expressway, Lagos.
The prosecution alleged that the defendant had forcible sexual intercourse with Oluwabamise Ayanwole, before murdering her.

The alleged offences were said to contravene Sections 411, 223, 260 and 165 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Ominnikoron pleaded not guilty.

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