A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted bail to a businessman and politician of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Oluwatosin Onamade. Onamade’s application for bail was granted at the court sitting held on February 18, 2022.
Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, on December 3, 2021, through his legal counsel, Barrister Victor I. Okoye, Gabriel Nandom, charged Mr Oluwatosin Onamade, before the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, on allegation of false accusations levied against one Hon. Fatiu Jimoh Salisu, former Chairman, Ijede LCDA, over an attack on his Cemetery Complex, that claimed the life of Mr Tony Etunmuse Godfrey, on April 16, 2021.
In the matter instituted at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, by the Inspector – General of Police on Thursday 18, 2021, with Suit No: FHC/L/320c/2021, Mr Onamade, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former Ijede Chairmanship aspirant, was charged on two counts. Part of the charges read, “that you, Oluwatosin Onamade ‘M’, sometime in May 2021 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did commit an illegal act to wit; intentionally circulating a grossly offensive publication through your Facebook/Instagram handle which you knew to be false, for the purpose of causing insult to Hon. Fatiu Salisu, Ijede LCDA Chairman by accusing him of the murder of late Tony Godfrey, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 24 of the Cyber Crimes Act, 2015.”
Challenging the suit, counsel to the defendant had filed an application for bail claiming the defendant was not informed about the ongoing proceeding against him.
“That I never knew that a charge had been preferred against me at the federal High Court until I received a telephone call from one Adekunle Adelabu of Impact Magazine on the 17th of January, 2022 requesting to know why I was not in court on the same 17th of January. That it was only after the telephone conversation with the said Adekunle Adelabu and the publication aforesaid that I got to know about the instant suit against me at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi.”
While ruling on the bail application filed by their lawyer, Olatunji Oshikoya, the sitting judge Justice Ayokunle Faji also ordered Onamade who was a Chairmanship aspirant for the Ijede Local Government Development Area, LCDA Lagos State during the last local government election in the state to continue on the administrative bail earlier granted to him by the police.
The trial judge gave the order after Onamade had pleaded not guilty to the two counts charge filed against him by the police.
When the matter came up for hearing today, the prosecutor Mr Victor. I. Okoye told justice Faji that he has a two count charge and pleaded with the court to allow the charge to be read to the defendant so that he can take his plea.
After reading the charge and the defendant’s not guilty plea, Justice Faji after listening to argument on the health status of Onamade from both counsel, ordered his release to his counsel pending the hearing and determination of his bail summon.
The judge also ordered that Onamade should continue to enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted to him by the police.
Consequently, Justice Faji adjourned the matter till 8th of March, 2022 for hearing of the defendant’s bail application.
Speaking to journalists after the proceeding on Wednesday, counsel to the defendant, Barrister Olatunji Oshikoya said “A fantastic session we had today. Today we were in court for his (Onamade) arraignment, his plea was taken. He pleaded not guilty to the offence charged. For us to move the application for bail, the prosecutor told the court that he was just filing his counter-affidavit to our application for bail. Therefore, he was not ready to go with our application for bail, so the court had no choice but to adjourn the matter for us to argue the bail application. But the court, sequel to counsel’s application, released the defendant to me his counsel for him to be produced at the next sitting.”
Prior to Onamade’s arraignment at the Federal High Court on Wednesday, there had been wide spread speculations in some quarters of some online magazines that the defendant had been jumping bail, arrested, and imprisoned on the court’s directives, an impression the defendant’s counsel Olatunji quickly defused.
“It is share falsehood to say that the defendant has been jumping bail. It is not true. What we are having here is a legal war and not a media war. And we shall surely prevail over this.” Olatunji declared.
Recall that StarMedia Renaissance reported how a group of hoodlums numbering about 15 were alleged to have, on 16th of April 2021, attacked the office of the politician in Ikorodu, killing one Mr Ifeanyi Etunmuse Godfrey and inflicting severe machete cut wound on his brother Oluwafemi Onamade.
Four out of the suspects of the attack namely Atunrase Sodiq Owolabi ‘M’ 28 years, Shittu Michael Olawale ‘M’ 28 years, Olaide Opeifa ‘M’ 40′ years, and Olanrewaju Adebiyi Adesanya aka Maja ‘M’ 35 years, are currently on remand for conspiracy and murder case pending the outcome of the legal case from the DPP.
A recorded video gotten on social media in January 2022, shows the suspects making confessionary statements during interrogation and explaining their roles in the whole saga.