The trial of the dismissed police inspector Jonathan Kampani has begun at the Lagos High court after many adjournments.
The murder case which is before Justice Sherifat Sonaike came up on the 30th of November, 2022.
The state counsels (prosecutors) M. A. Olateju, Esq. and Kuku, Esq. were present in court and announced their appearance, while Barrister Jimi was the defense counsel.
Mr. G. I. Peter and Mr. G. A. Johnson held watching brief for the Bakare family of Ajiran and Eti-Osa Lawyers’ Forum.
The matter was slated for trial so trial commenced.
The state’s counsel, Mr. Olateju called his first witness.
The witness, Mr. Lawal Ibrahim Adeniyi took his oath.
The state’s counsel commenced the examination-in-chief by asking the witness his full name, where he stays and what he does for a living to which the witness said his full name is Mr. Lawal Ibrahim Adeniyi, he stays at No. 21 Baale street, Oko-Addo, Ajah, Lagos state and he’s a technician.
The state’s counsel asked the witness if this was his first time seeing the defendant to which he replied in affirmative.
The state’s counsel asked the witness to narrate how he met the defendant on the 18th of March, 2021. The witness stated that around 10pm on the said day after eating with his late friend, Jelili Bakare at their usual spot i.e. Quinoxx lounge (the place of the shooting) he was about to leave when he met the defendant at the entrance of the restaurant. The defendant was a policeman. The defendant asked the witness to search himself. The defendant was also holding a gun. The witness was about to search himself when another person came into the restaurant and was told by the defendant to also search himself. The witness used this opportunity to go back into the lounge and draw the attention of his friend to witness his harassment at the hands of the defendant. His late friend stood up to meet the defendant and he and the defendant started talking. At that moment the witness touched his now late friend to inform him he was leaving.
The witness said he drove home but on getting to his place of residence he got a call that his now late friend had been shot so he rushed back to the restaurant but on getting there he met the place deserted. The witness stated that he saw two cars and a Toyota pickup with their headlights on. He said he rushed to the gate of the restaurant to hit it so he could get the attention of anyone working in the restaurant and when nobody answered him he turned around and that’s when he saw somebody in one of the cars. He said he moved closer to the car and realised that it was his now late friend Jelili Bakare that was in the back seat of the car bleeding. He did not know the owner of the car but he saw the car key was in the ignition and the car’s engine was on.
The witness stated that he saw someone crouched down pointing a gun as if the person was about to shoot, nevertheless he got into the car his friend was in and drove him to the nearest hospital. When he got to the hospital his friend was still talking and saying it was that police officer (the defendant) that shot him. The witness said he begged them at the hospital to help his friend and when they were in the process of trying to stabilise him, his friend, Jelili Bakare died. The hospital staff said he lost too much blood.
The state counsel asked the witness if he checked his time during all these. The witness said it was between 10pm and 11pm.
The state counsel asked the witness what he did after his friend was declared dead. The witness replied that he did not know what to do but he was asked by the hospital staff to call somebody. He said soon after some men came to the hospital, he realised that one of the men was the manager of the restaurant as he introduced himself as such and the remaining men were policemen from Ogombo division. The manager told the witness that he was the owner of one of the cars parked at the restaurant. The manager informed the witness at the hospital that after he left, the police officer started shooting sporadically so they all had to run away. The police men, with the manager and the witness then took the deceased to Ogombo police station. The witness said that at Ogombo police station, he then called the older brother of his late friend who in turn informed the family members of the unfortunate news. The witness said the manager of the restaurant laid a complaint at the Ogombo police station.
On cross examination the defense counsel asked if all that transpired happened between the hours of 10pm and 12pm. The witness said he was not sure because at that time he was not himself as his friend had just died. He cannot give an estimate of the time as he was in the police station till daybreak.
The defense counsel asked if he was at the restaurant with only his friend Jelili Bakare. The witness stated that he was there with his late friend, Jelili Bakare and a Mr. Lanre who isn’t really familiar with the witness.
The defense counsel asked the witness who the person was that called him on the phone to inform him that his friend was dead. The witness stated that he did not know the person and he had lost his previous phone so he could not retrieve the person’s phone number.
The witness also stated that he was not sure if the deceased had any prior relationship with the defendant.
The defense counsel asked the witness if the deceased mentioned the specific name of the person that shot him to which the witness replied that the deceased did not. He only said it was that policeman.
The defense counsel asked where Lanre was in all of this to which the witness replied he was nowhere to be found. The witness stated that Lanre and the deceased worked together as developers in the estate.
The defense counsel asked the witness why he called the deceased to witness his harassment at the hands of the defendant. The witness said it was because the deceased was a developer who worked in that estate so he may have been familiar with the defendant.
The defense counsel asked if alcohol was sold in the restaurant to which the witness said alcohol wasn’t sold in the restaurant itself where they were but it was sold on the premises.
There was no re-examination of the witness by the prosecution.
The state counsel informed the court that he intended to bring additional proof of evidence and other witnesses relevant to this case so he asked for an adjournment. The case was adjourned to the 8th February, 2023 for continuation of trial.