A former Personal Assistant to Governor Ayo Fayose during his first tenure, Goke Olatunji was on Tuesday arraigned at an Ado Ekiti High Court over alleged double murder.
The offences were allegedly committed 11 years ago.Also charged with him is a member of House of Representatives, Mr Thaddeus Aina,.
The two men were charged with the murders of the then Holland-based Mr Tunde Omojola and a World Bank Consultant, Dr Ayodeji Daramola.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that , the trial was however stalled because of the absence of Aina, said to have gone abroad for medical treatment.
Omojola was killed in Ifaki Ekiti in 2006 during a councillorship election while Daramola was murdered in Ijan Ekiti on August 14, 2006.Both murders were committed under the first term of Governor Fayose.
When the case was brought before Justice Adewale Fowe, on Tuesday,the prosecuting counsel, Mr Adekunle Adetowubo, told the court that Aina, who is currently representing Ekiti North Federal Constituency II , had been flown abroad for medical treatment over undisclosed ailment.
Both Adetowubo and counsel to the defendants, Mr Adedayo Adewumi, sought a brief adjournment and also prayed the court to issue a Witness summon, so that all the witnesses can be brought to court at the next adjournment date.
“My lord, the counsel to the 2nd respondent had told me that he was sick
“The purpose of this case is to prosecute and not to persecute. Again, only the living can be tried and not the dead
“ We pray that he recover soon and by the time he will appear, the trial can be heard expeditiously
“We can’t continue with this case until the 2nd defendant appears in court, because this is a criminal case
“Ordinarily, we would have requested for a Bench Warrant to bring him to court, but we have done
our own findings and we found out that he was truly flown abroad for treatment
“My lord, this adjournment does not mean we are withdrawing the charges against him, we are not even ready for that.
“Some of those granted bail in this case could not be found now, but the 2nd respondent has consistently been coming to court. So we want him
granted this opportunity to appear when his health is restored
“What we intended to do today is to mention the case, but under this circumstance, we oblige your lordship to give us a new date so that we can come with our witnesses
“We know that this case has a chequered history but we still need patience since the defendant was only exercising his fundamental rights”, he added.
The Counsel to the respondent aligned with the submission of the prosecuting counsel that a brief adjournment was needed under this circumstance, urging them to tidy up their case for speedy trial of the accused persons.
In his ruling, Justice Fowe, who had earlier objected to adjournment said:
“This matter has stayed for long and I wish we continue now
“But since both parties had sought for this adjournment under the circumstance, I hereby adjourn the case to April 27, 2017 for hearing.
“I also direct that all processes be served on the prosecuting witnesses to appear in court on that day”, he ruled.