…TASKS Federal High Court to free itself from executive shackles
As news emerged that Killers of Afenifere Leader, Pa Reuben Fasoranti’s daughter, late Mrs. Funke Olakuri, have been sentenced to death by hanging by Ondo High Court, Akure, Ondo State, the leading Civil Rights Advocacy Group- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has applauded the Ondo State Judiciary for this uncommon feat and phenomenal justice.
HURIWA said the sentencing of the armed Fulani terrorists in Ondo State is a signal that although Justice may be very slow but with determination and diligence in prosecution, the judiciary that is not encumbered by executive interference would surely deliver Justice and bring closure to such a case of mindless murder of a completely innocent person.
The Rights group wonders why this is not the same with the way the office of the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice prosecutes terrorists even as the Rights group accuses the Federal Attorney General and the Inspector-General of Police of cover up in casesnof terrorism and kidnappings in which many Fulani armed herdsmen were involved, arrested and paraded by the force headquarters in Abuja. “We suspect that the IGP often parades arrested armed Fulani herdsmen but as soon as they are reported in the media it would seem that those paraded are released from the backdoor and return to carry out more of their mindless killings all over the Country. This is because there is no openness regarding the fate of all the armed Fulani terrorists previously paraded by the Force Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force”.
HURIWA also accused the Federal High Court of becoming an appendage of the office if the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by giving up its powers and independence especially in cases in which the Federal government is the defendant.
HURIWA has therefore asked the Federal High Court to exorcise itself of executive interference and become independent so cases brought to them by Nigerians seeking redress from human rights violations are not impeded by corrupt bureaucratic bottlenecks tearing down the Federal High Courts.
The Rights group showered encomiums on the Ondo State Judiciary for standing up to be counted amongst those who have defended their inherent independence.
“We call on all other State jucial arm to wake up and bring Justice to mass murderers and terrorists who are unleashing devastating violence on innocent People. States such as Plateau, Kaduna, Benue States whereby Fulani terrorists have massacred thousands of Indigenous farmers and natives must wake up from slumber, shake off executive slavery and become independent so as to deliver Justice to the thousands of victims of terrorism in those States. The police must be allowed by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to carry out their law enforcement functions in all cases of mass killings even when armed Fulani terrorists are implicated because for 7 years, these Fulani terrorists have been enjoying executive protection and pampering which endangers the rule of law.
HURIWA recalled that the deceased, Olakunri, was killed in July 12, 2019 along Ore/Ijebu-Ode Road in Odigbo Local Government Area of the state when she was traveling to Lagos from Akure for a social function by armed Fulani terrorists.
Her driver, Femi Ajayi, was kidnapped and released after he had spent seven days in their captivity.
HURIWA recalled that Justice Williams Olamide convicted and sentenced Muhammed Shehu Usman, Mazaje Lawal and Adamu Adamu, to death by hanging for offences ranging from conspiracy to murder, kidnapping and armed robbery just as the prosecution established beyond reasonable doubts that the same convicts attacked and killed a hunter identified as Matthew Ogunbiyi in the forest and took a German-Nigerian hostage, who was released after payment of ransom.
HURIWA citing news report stated that the now convicted terrorists were also charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and actual commission of armed robbery contrary to Section 1 (2a&b) for the Robbery and Firearm Special Prohibition Act CAP R11, Volume 14, Laws of the Federation. Besides, they were charged with conspiracy to commit felony to wit kidnapping, contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code CAP 37, Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State.
HURIWA recalled that the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Charles Titiloye, had levied eight-count charge against four suspects, listing them as aiding and abetting, armed robbery, kidnapping and murder. The first to three suspects were charged with murder contrary to Section 316 and punishable under section 319 of the Criminal Code CAP 37 Volume 1, Laws of Ondo State, Nigeria, 2006.
HURIWA recalled that the judge convicted them on the eight count charges while he discharged the fourth suspect, Awalu Abubakar, for conspiracy, aiding and abetting even as Justice Olamide ordered the convicts to die either by hanging on the murder counter, and added that they would spend the remaining part of their lives in prison for the offence of kidnapping.