Lagos arraigns, remands hotel owner, workers for allegedly aiding homosexuality

The Lagos State Government Friday, arraigned the owner of Vintage Hotel in Owode Onirin, Ikorodu road, Patrick Okeze before a Yaba Magistrate Court for allegedly aiding same-sex activities in his hotel.

Chief Okeze was arraigned alongside two of his workers, Sunday Isang and Bright Oba for allegedly contradicting provisions of Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act of 2014.

28 adults and 12 minors had being arraigned on Thursday, before Yaba and Ebute-Metta Magistrate Courts respectively, for engaging in homosexuality using the said hotel.

Chief Okeze and his workers were said to have aided 40 people and others still at large, to engage in same sex activities as well as gay club/party in the said Vintage Hotel located at No 999, Ikorodu Road/Toyin Close, Weigh Bridge, Owode Onirin, Lagos contrary to and punishable under Section 5 (2) of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2014.

After the one-count criminal charge against Okeze (56), Isang (30) and Oba (28) was called and read before Chief Magistrate Adewale Ojo, the defendants were not allowed to take their plea on the account of the fact that the court lacked the jurisdiction to adjudicate on the subject matter of the case.

The prosecution team including Adetutu Oshinusi, Bosun Aroyehun, Folabi Sholebo, Olaitan Shoetan and Nnena Okereka, all from the State’s Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP), urged the court to remand the defendants in prison pending the outcome of the legal advice of the DPP.

The defence team led by Alli Abba, however, urged the court to discountenance the application of the prosecution, and admit the defendants to bail, as the offence under which they were charged, is bailable.

He referred to the arraignment of the principal suspects in the case who were granted bail by the same court on Thursday, assuring that his clients would not abscond if admitted to bail.

But in response, Police’s counsel, Effiong Asuquo said the application for the defendants to be remanded in prison pending legal advice was based on the need to prevent the defendants from going back to run the hotel if granted bail.

He said the subject matter of the case being about Same Sex Marriage Act could only be tried at the High Court, and that the application was needed to keep them in custody pending legal advice.

In his ruling, Magistrate Ojo held that in view of the provisions of Section 264 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State, he found merit in the application for the defendants to be remanded pending the DPP advice.

The court found “sufficient merit” in the application and ruled that, “It is hereby ordered that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants be remanded in prison custody pending their legal advice.”

The Magistrate adjourned the case to September 4, 2017.

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