Headfort Foundation, a prison reform initiative, has detailed how James Zougbenou, Olayiwola Sodiq, Tajudeen Musa, and Abdulahi Adisa spent 11 months in prison for committing no crime.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Headfort wrote that officers of the now defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arrested the young men in a raid in Agege, Lagos State, on June 16, 2021.
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The foundation said that SARS charged the men to court ‘for breach of public peace’.
Headfort said that Juliet Akah, one of its lawyers, took up the case of the young men and represented them at the Ebute Metta Magistrate Court.
The organisation stated that one of the men explained to its lawyer that they were only kept in custody with nothing happening in the matter while the prosecutor kept asking for an adjournment.
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Headfort said that their lawyer met with the prosecutor, but did not get a good reason the trial was being delayed.
“Our lawyer approached the prosecutor to confirm the statuses of the matter and why the trial had been stalled for so long, but he didn’t get any reasonable response from him,” the foundation wrote.
The Ebute Metta Magistrate Court acquitted the men on May 5 after the prosecutor requested another adjournment rather than calling a witness to the stand.
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“On May 5, the prosecutor still informed the court that his witness wasn’t available and asked for another adjournment,” Headfort said.
“Our lawyer brought to the notice of the court the situation of the case since its inception and urged the court to use its discretion to enforce justice in the case.
“The court in its fairness discharged the defendants. They spent 11 months in custody before regaining their freedom.”
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