Headfort Foundation, a prison reform initiative, has detailed how it facilitated the release of Wasiu Are, a 40-year-old man from Ibadan, who spent four years in Ikoyi Prison.
In a Twitter thread on June 12, the foundation stated that in 2018, Are and his friends stopped some men who wanted to enter a railway site.
Like most street urchins in Lagos, Are and his friends requested money from the men before they allowed them to enter the railway site. But unknown to them, the men were thieves.
“The guys entered the site and cut electric cables belonging to the Railway Corporation. The police arrested Wasiu and others and charged him as an accessory after the fact to an offence of destruction of electric cables,” Headfort tweeted.
The foundation said that the men who stole the cables pleaded guilty in court while Wasiu and two others pleaded not guilty. Headfort stated that while the court sentenced the men, it also granted them bail.
Headfort said one man perfected his bail while Wasiu and the other man remained in custody. After some time, the other person died while awaiting trial, leaving just Wasiu in custody, said Headfort.
“Our lawyer, Oluyemi Orija, took Are’s brief during a prison visitation, carried out a preliminary investigation, and commenced his free legal representation,” Headfort said.
“She realised that since the main pleaded guilty, the prosecution had not been showing up for the continuation of the trial.”
The foundation said the case continued till June 2022, when the matter came up again with no prosecuting counsel in court.
According to Headfort, another lawyer of theirs, alongside the defendant’s lawyer, applied to the court to dismiss the charges since the prosecution refused to show up in court for a year and four months, even after they had served them notice.
“The court went through its record and aligned with the submission of both defendants’ counsel and dismissed the charges against them,” Headfort stated.
“Wasiu regained freedom after four years in custody.”
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