There was a drama at the Ekiti State High Court 6 in Ado-Ekiti yesterday when seven persons accused of complicity in the murder of ex-National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) Chairman Omolafe Aderiye “interrogated” and “disowned” a lawyer, who announced appearance for them.
Standing trial are Adebayo Aderiye (aka Ojuigo), Adeniyi Adedipe (aka Apase), Sola Durodola, Oso Farotimi (aka Oso Polo), Ajayi Kayode (aka Sir Kay), Joseph Olanbiwonnu (aka Mentilo) and Sola Adenijo (aka Solar).
Omolafe was killed on September 25, 2014. The state filed a murder case against the suspects the next month after Governor Ayo Fayose assumed office. The slain former NURTW chief was an associate of the governor.
The case was stalled at the lower court following non-hearing of an application filed by the state at the Court of Appeal, Ado-Ekiti Division.
Families and associates of the accused on Monday protested at the Court of Appeal, urging the judges to expedite action on applications and motions before them, to allow conclusion of trial at the High Court.
Drama started after three lawyers announced their appearance before Justice Lekan Ogunmoye.
Ahmed Tafa appeared for the prosecution, while Olowofela Adebayo announced appearance for the fifth and seventh defendants (Farotimi and Adenijo).
Pamela Isinkinma appeared for the fourth defendant (Kayode).
The accused grumbled about the appearance of Olowofela, whom they described as a “complete stranger to the case”. They said they suspected foul play.
Justice Ogunmoye watched the drama, while the families and associates of the accused were bemused. They murmured.
“From which chamber are you?” The same question was echoed by Adenijo, who added in Yoruba: “Iwo o kii n se loya wa o”, meaning, “You are not our lawyer.”
Adedipe said: “My lord, we don’t know this lawyer and we can’t allow him to speak for us. If indeed he is our lawyer, he should have exchanged pleasantries with us before hearing began. That is the normal scenario. We don’t know him sir.”
As the lawyers agreed on a new date for the case, Olanbiwonnu told Olowofela in Yoruba: “Ma mu deeti fun wa o, ki lo n se ogbeni yii?”, meaning, “Don’t pick any date for us, what is wrong with this fellow?”