The authorities of the Ikoyi Prisons have been ordered by a Senior Magistrate’s Court sitting at Yaba to produce all the suspected killers of Cynthia Osokogu.
Miss Osokogu, a post-graduate student of the Nassarawa State University was said to have been killed after she was drugged and raped at a Festac hotel in Lagos on July 22, 2012.
The Magistrate, Olalekan Aka-Bashorun, gave the order yesterday after an oral application was made by the prosecution team led by a Superintendent of Police, Mr. Chukwu Agwu, to consolidate all the three charges preferred against them.
But Aka-Bashorun said that it would be impossible for the prosecution to consolidate the charges unless all the defendants were present in court.
Therefore, Agwu had to urge the court to issue a reproduction warrant on the Ikoyi prisons to produce the defendants in court at the next adjourned date.
But counsel to the defendants, Jude Ngovilie, John Aroh and Mr. I A Osimiri, urged the court to compel the prosecution to make available to them, proof of evidence and other documentary evidence that would be used during trial.
Aroh complained that he had made a written application to the prosecution to forward to defence lawyers, proof of evidence but they had failed to comply. He said that in the spirit of fair hearing the defendants should be presumed innocent until the contrary is proven.
But Agwu submitted that it was immaterial at this stage when trial was yet to commence, adding that the Magistrate Court was only meant for remand proceedings as it lacked jurisdiction to conduct the trial in line with the Administration of Criminal Justice, Law of Lagos State, 2011.
But Aka-Bashorun said that while it was true that the Magistrate Court lacked jurisdiction to conduct trial of the defendants all the defence lawyers ought to be given ample opportunity to prepare their defence.
Okwumo Nwabufo, 33; Ezike Olisaeloka, 23; Orji Osita, 32; and Maduakor Chukwunonso, 25, are facing trial on an eight-count charge of felony, conspiracy, robbery and murder of Cynthia Osokogu.
Their charge sheet stated that the suspects killed the deceased by administering her with ‘Rohypnol Flunitrapezam’’, binding, torturing, and strangling her.
It also stated that the suspects, along with some others at large, raped and robbed the deceased of valuables that included an International passport, a mobile phone, shoes, bags, wristwatches and jewellery.
In two separate charges, a 39-year old taxi driver, Gideon Okechukwu and two GSM retailers, Ezike Nonso Ifechukwu (22) and Ezeaka Chinonso (27) were arraigned before the court for the murder of Cynthia Osokogu.