Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
After spending almost two years in Ikoyi Correctional Centre for an offence he did not commit, reprieve came the way of a 19 year-old Daniel Ameh, who was accused of killing a 14 year-old, Qudus Anifowoshe, as Justice Owolabi Dabiri of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja division on Monday, discharged and acquitted him of the offence.
Daniel, an undergraduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, regained his freedom following a Legal Advice issued by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mrs. A O Adeyemi, in charge marked ID/12109c/2020, that there was no sufficient fact to prosecute him for the offence of murder contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law, Ch.17, Vol.3, Laws of Lagos State, 2015 or any offence whatsoever.
Chief State Counsel, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Mr. Ligali Olakunle, in his application, informed the court that upon the receipt of additional case file from the Office of the Assistant-Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department (ForceCID) Annex, Alagbon-Ikoyi, Lagos, the DPP reviewed it position and is now of the view that there are no sufficient facts to prosecute Daniel Ameh for the offence of murder.
Daniel was accused of the gruesome murder of a 14-year-old student of Icon Primary and Secondary school Ikorodu, Qudus Anifowoshe on October 14, 2019, in Ikorodu.
The victim’s body was found mutilated with missing parts, in an uncompleted building at Igbogbo, Agunfoye in Ikorodu area of Lagos state.
Subsequently, Daniel was arrested and detained by detectives attached to the Lagos State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) Panti.
However, his lawyer, Barrister Mike Akinfolarin of Mike Akinfolarin & Associates, challenged the investigation conducted by the Operatives of SCID, Panti that found Daniel culpable of the offence.
This led the former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to set up a forensic investigation, which exonerated Daniel Ameh of any involvement.
In his submissions, Barrister Akinfolarin urged the court not to allow Daniel Ameh who was merely sent on an errand to suffer for an offence he knew nothing about while the real criminals are walking free on the street.
He told the court that his chambers, Mike Akinfolarin & Associates challenged the earlier Legal Advice issued by the Attorney-General Of Lagos State for lacking in merit and substance capable of misguiding the court that could lead to a serious miscarriage of justice, thus the Attorney-General reversed his earlier legal Advice upon receiving additional and superior information from the Force Criminal Investigation Department, Alagbon, which was ordered to conduct a scientific and forensic investigation into the alleged Murder.
In his ruling, Justice Dabiri held that following the legal advice from the Director of Public Prosecution that there are no sufficient facts to warrant prosecution, ‘the defendant is hereby discharged of the offence of murder’.
According to the DPP advice, facts available in the duplicate case file revealed that “on October 14, 2019 at about 21.00hours, Qudus Anifowoshe (14 years old) was declared missing from his family residence at Igbogbo in Ikorodu.
“It was alleged that he was last seen with Daniel Ameh (17 years old) alive, days later Qudus’ corpse was found in an uncompleted building beside the family residence of Daniel Ameh.
“The corpse was found in circumstances leading to the reasonable conclusion that this was a ritual killing.
“However, Daniel Ameh was consistent in his statements about his visit to the deceased’s home on the fateful night, how he saw the deceased among others including one Juwon Adebisi and eventually left the deceased with Juwon.
“He was subjected to a polygraph test (lie detector) by investigators from the ForceCID, Alagbon, and he passed the polygraph test indicating that he was truthful in his statements.
“On his part, Olusoga Adebowale was inconsistent in his statements in the case file.
“He denied knowing Daniel Ameh, but later accepted he knows him. He also denied seeing Qudus that night but he failed the Polygraph test.
“Waheed Mojeed raised the defence of alibi at the earliest opportunity and the said alibi was not investigated at the time the initial case file was forwarded to this Office.
‘’As regards the other suspects, there are no sufficient facts with which to prosecute them for any offence whatsoever. Be that as it may, all that we have against Daniel Ameh and Olusoga Adebowale is mere suspicion and not admissible evidence. In the light of the foregoing, this office shall not prosecute the suspect Daniel Ameh for the offence of Murder under Section 223 of the Criminal Law, Cap. C.17, Vol. 3, Laws of Lagos State, 2 15 or any offence whatsoever and he should be discharged if still in custody.
‘’This Legal Advice therefore Supersedes our earlier Legal Advice which is hereby withdrawn’’, the new Legal Advice read.