Released factory worker

31.01.2022 Featured Factory Worker Spends 23 Months in Kirikiri Prison ‘for Eating at His Father’s Shop’

Published 31st Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

In March 2020, Tosin Ogidiolu, a factory worker, was eating near his father’s shop in the Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos, when police officers attached to Adekunle Police Station in Sabo, Yaba, arrested him. He would spend 23 months in the Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre.

Eniola Omosehin, the Headfort Foundation lawyer who secured his release, told FIJ that the 24-year-old native of Oyo State visited his father’s shop after work and waited for him for a while.

On walking to a street close to the shop to get food, he saw some young men running. Unbothered, he did not run, but the police arrested him, according to Omosehin.

He questioned the officers, but they said he would know the reason for his arrest when he got to their station.

She said that on arraignment in March 2020, the court did not grant him bail but remanded him until the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP)’s legal advice came out. She later approached the registrar of the Ogba Magistrate Court to know what was happening.

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“The police officers said for him to be where the men ran, he must be a criminal. Then they arraigned him for belonging to an unlawful society and unlawful display of firearms in public. They later remanded him on March 13, 2020, pending the issuance of legal advice,” Omosehin told FIJ.

“The legal advice came out that same year, but unfortunately, they did not send it to the court. We didn’t meet him until January 2021. We kept going to the court and writing the same adjournment for issuing legal advice.

“The record of proceedings revealed that the matter had suffered a series of adjournments because of the delay in issuing the legal advice, caused by the pandemic and the judiciary worker’s strike. The legal advice stated that they discharge Ogidiolu if he was still in custody.

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“On January 26, the court read the legal advice and discharged Ogidiolu of all charges against him. He had spent a year and 11 months in prison for no just cause.”

Headfort Foundation is a non-profit organisation established in March 2019 with the aim of decongesting the Nigerian prison. They have helped to secure the release of over 200 inmates.

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Published 31st Jan, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti


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