The Nasarawa State High Court Obi has begun seating on the case of assault by a lecturer with the Federal University of Lafia, Dr. Fred Ayokhai on a 21-years-old female student of the university, Blessing Mathias.
The matter which is before Justice Solomon Ayenajeh of High Court Obi, headquarters of Obi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, was heard today (Thursday, January 11, 2023) where the Investigating Police Officer (IPO) on the case in question, Hammed Kabir testified as a witness in the court.
In his testimony, the IPO, Hammed Kabir, said that the lady, Joy Ademola Ogundayo, sighted in the video was not an accomplice to the crime.
Even though Joy was not a defendant in the case, she was seen in the video that went viral on social media with Dr. Fred and other perpetrators.
In the viral video, Dr. Fred and three of his children: Emmanuella Ayokahi 18 years, Saint-Dan Ayokahi 21 years, Bob Praise Ayokahi 23 years, including one Vera, an accomplice, who is still at large were captured assaulting Blessing Mathias.
Joy Ademola Ogundayo was also sighted in the video and was traced and invited for questioning by the police. Her recorded statement was tendered in the Court. This was objected to by the defense counsel.
Both Vera and Joy are friends to Emmanuella Ayokahi, daughter of the university don.
They were first arraigned at High Court 1, before Justice Aisha Bashir-Aliyu, the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State on six (6) Counts Charge of Criminal Conspiracy under Section 96, House Breaking under section 346 of the penal code, voluntary causing grievous hurt without provocation, Section 241 of the penal code, abduction under Section 272, and Criminal Force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty; punishable under Section 97, section 354, 247, 273, 268 of the Penal Code Laws of Northern Nigeria respectively.
The police investigating officer, who testified on oath during examination in Chief led by the prosecuting counsel, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, narrated that, Joy was not part of those that committed the crime against Blessing Mathias and the State.
He said, according to preliminary investigation, Emmanuella Ayokahi, who is a friend of Vera still at large, told Joy, her roommate that, Emmanuella Ayokahi’s father and her siblings are going to arrest Blessing Mathias for snitching and betraying her friend, Emmanuella.
“Joy who peeped out and saw Emmanuella’s father and her siblings in a black Hilux Ford, concluded that, they were policemen and joined them.
“Unknown to Joy, their mission to Blessing Mathias’s house was different, and immediately the gate/door, where blessing was residing was opened, they went straight to her room and started beating her.
“Even when Blessing was begging them to show her mercy, they paid deaf ears to her plea.
“They also dragged her from her room to the car, and drove to a bush off Kwandere road and continued another rounds of the beating there.
“The beating was so thorough that, they tore her clothes, while Emmanuella’s father, Dr. Fred used scissors to cut off the clothes off Blessing, naked and dumped her there.”
Kabir said, according to the statement on record, Joy had insisted that they (the suspects) should go back and take Blessing to hospital or she will raise alarm, because, leaving her there, she might end up losing her life due to the severe beating and torture.
The statement by Joy Ademola Ogundayo, he said, was voluntarily recorded under his supervision.
The statement was however admitted in court as exhibit.
The defense counsel, Joseph Kigbu, objected to the admissibility of the statement of Joy Ademola Ogundayo, saying “the document is suspect.”
Kigbu further stated that, the document was full of alterations, which makes it not valid inline with the criminal trial and he urged the court to reject the statement.
The Prosecuting Counsel and the Nasarawa State Attorney-General, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, who personally led the IPO in the examination in Chief said, the State is ready to present witnesses that will ensure justice for the victim and that will serve as a caution for those who would have indulged in such acts in future.
The Attorney-General said, a statement made before the police, recorded and received by the police becomes a public document that can be tendered by the police.
He said, the claim of the defense counsel is irrelevant and as such, the document can be admitted, as the witness has laid the foundation as required by the law.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss the objection of the respondents’ counsel for justice and equity.
The Presiding Judge, Justice Solomon Ayenajeh, who relied on Section 83, Subsection 2 of the Evidence Act, said the statement in evidence can be tendered in the absence of the maker of the statement, once the document is not offensive to any law.
Justice Ayenajeh stressed that a Police Officer can tender a statement in evidence by the maker and therefore refused the objection and marked the statement of Joy Ademola Ogundayo as exhibit ‘A’.
On the statement of Dr. Fred, which was tendered at the court was admitted and marked as exhibit ‘B’ while that of his children were objected to by the defense counsel.
In his objection, defense counsel Kigbu said, the statement of the children was obtained under duress, coercion, beating and all manner of inhuman conduct and therefore are not admissible by law.
The Attorney-General, who did not object to the need for trial within trail, was optimistic that, the evidences brought before the court are genuine.
Meanwhile, the Presiding Judge, Justice Ayenajeh adjourned the matter to February 2, 2023 for trail within trail.