Assassination Attempton Dino: Hearing Begins on Suit Against Taofiq Isa, Four Others

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Hearing began at Kogi State High court sitting in Lokoja, on Thursday on the suit brought against the administrator of Ijumu local government area of Kogi state, Alhaji Taofiq Isa and four others over the attempted assassination of the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye.

Others arraigned alongside the council boss on a five-count charge of conspiracy to commit culpable homicide punishable with death were Ade Obege, Abdullahi Isah, Michael Bamidele and Ahmed Ajayi.

When the suit resumed for hearing before Justice Ben Akogu, the prosecution opened its case by calling two witnesses to establish his case.

This was preceded by a motion brought by the prosecution counsel, Lough Simon, for amendment of the charges brought against the five accused persons.

The amendment sought to change parts of counts 5, 6 and 7, the proof of evidence and the list of witnesses to be used in prosecuting the case.

Counsel to the first, fourth and fifth defendants, Dele Adesina, SAN, however objected the motion as it affected prayers one and three, arguing that the prosecution should have sought leave of the court to file additional witnesses.

The presiding judge however granted the motion following which the Prosecution Witness 1 (PW1), Saidi Isa, was led in evidence-in-chief by Simon.

Isa told the court how four men invaded the vicinity of Melaye’s residence in Ayetoro Gbede, Ijumu local government area at about 12.30am on April 15, 2017.

He said the shooting lasted for several minutes and after the attack, the gate and two windows of the building were destroyed.

Also, the PW2, Comfort Otuku, a Superintendent of Police and the Officer in Charge of general investigation, narrated to the court the event that led to the arrest of the accused persons.

She 26 expended bullets, shells of 7.26 mm, 9mm ammunition and 13 expended cartridges were recovered from the compound of the senator.

She added that the team executed search warrant on the residence of the local government administrator with nothing incriminating found in the house.

Otuku however said the team met the fourth defendant, Ahmed Ajayi, who claimed to be the vigilante attached to the administrator at the gate of the house and was arrested with a single barrel gun and five rounds of live cartridges.

The witness also said a Honda CRV packed in front of Isa was also searched and another single barrel gun and 10 rounds of live cartridges recovered from the car.

However, during cross examination by Adesina, the witness contradicted her earlier statement where she had stated that the security operatives attached to Melaye were reprimanded for negligence.

The presiding judge however adjourned further hearing on the suit till today (Friday) for prosecution to close his case.

Credit: Yinka Oladoyinbo | Tribune