The trial of Andrew Ominnikoron, driver of Bus Rapid Transit charged with the rape and murder of a 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, was on Wednesday stalled due to the absence of the defendant.
Ominnikoron is standing trial before a Lagos High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square on five charges bordering on conspiracy, rape and murder, preferred against him by the Lagos State Government.
When the case was called on Wednesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Dr Babajide Martins, informed the court that the prison service did not bring the inmates to court due to security reasons regarding the commercial motorcycles ban in the state.
Martins said, “I don’t think the defendant’s counsel, Mr Abayomi Omotubora, is here but we have three witnesses in court.
“The second prosecution witness who needs to finish his evidence, and two other witnesses are in court.
“I humbly request that today’s date be vacated and adjourned to other dates that have already been fixed.”
Following the development, Justice Sherifat Sonaike, adjourned the case until June 7 for the continuation of trial.
The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had on May 18, announced a total ban on the operations of commercial motorcycles in six local government areas with effect from June 1.
Following the development and the planned protest by the commercial motorcyclists, the Controller of Prisons, Adebisi Adewale, directed a temporary suspension of conveying inmates to various courts in the state.
This was due to intelligence and security reports of a possible breakdown of law and order during the protest.
As a result of the development, some of the courts did not sit, as the inmates were not produced from the prisons.
On that last court proceeding, the second prosecution witness, Kayode Aluko, one of the operational managers of BRT, narrated how Ominnikoron, ran away after the information about the alleged rape and murder was discovered.
The prosecution had stated that the offence took place on Feb. 26, at 7.00 p.m., at Lekki- Ajah Conservation centre Lekki Ajah expressway Lagos and Carter bridge.
The police also alleged that the defendant had sexual intercourse with Ayanwole, without her consent and murdered her.
According to the prosecution, the offence contravened the provisions of sections 165, 223, 260 and 411 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.
However, the 47-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against him.