by Stanley Azuakola
The police has charged the suspects in the murder of Cynthia Osokogu. On their first appearance in court on Wednesday, a Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court granted bail to two out of the three suspects.
But the driver who was accused of driving the prime suspect to Cosmilla Hotel, FESTAC, was remanded in prison custody.
Those granted bail were – Nonso Ezike (22), the younger brother to Olisaeloka, one of the alleged killers, and Ezeaka Chinonso (27). Both of them were arrested by policemen at Area E for receiving and selling Cynthia’s BlackBerry phone.
Lawyer to 22-year old Nonso, J. C Ngobili, told the court that the accused was a student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri. He asked court to grant bail in liberal terms.
The magistrate, P.A. Adekomaya, admitted that although the offences were bailable, he pointed out that the bail condition ought not to be too liberal in view of the circumstances surrounding Cynthia’s murder.
He granted Nonso and Ezeaka bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties in like sum, adding that the sureties must not be teachers or local government employees. He added that the sureties could be bank tellers.
He said, “The court observes that the matter at hand is a bailable offense but in order to deter the defendants from flight, I hereby subject them to bail of N500, 000 each with two sureties in like sum.”
The third accused person, Gideon Okechukwu, a driver, was however charged with eight counts of murder, rape, robbery, conspiracy, administering a harmful substance to the deceased among others.
The charge reads in part, “That you, Gideon Okechukwu, and others charged to court, on the same dates, time and place, in the aforesaid Magisterial district, did unlawfully kill one Cynthia Osokogu (25) by administering her with obnoxious substance known as Rohypnol Flunitrazepam tablets via a Ribena drink, binding her with padlock and cellotaped her legs, neck and mouth, giving her fist blows all over her body, giving her several human bites, tortured and strangled her to death and thereby committed an offence, punishable under Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
Okechukwu’s lawyer, Bello, prayed the court to also grant the accused bail, adding that he had been held at the State Criminal Investigation Department.
The magistrate, who quickly interjected, explained that it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of the court to grant bail for such offences.
He said, “Do you think I am drunk or under a spell that I would grant bail for such offences? Before this court is an application for remand. The accused person can only be granted bail based on the advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions or order from a superior court.”
Okechukwu was remanded in Ikoyi Prison. The matter was adjourned till October 3, 2012.