Ogun Community Condemns Bail Granted Alleged Kidnappers

Residents of Mosafote community in the Ibafo area of Ogun state have protested the bail of three suspected kidnappers by a Magistrate Court in the state. The suspects, Habibat Oyesanya, 52; Olubunmi Tajudeen, 36; and Morenike Shittu, 40, had been arrested for allegedly abducting a four-year-old girl from Ibadan, the Oyo state capital. The suspects were said to have taken the girl to the community where they were arrested.

Shittu was said to have been taking the child out of the community on October 15, 2017 before she was caught by some members of the community. She led the police to apprehend Oyesanya and Tajudeen.  While being paraded at the Ogun State Police Command headquarters in Eleweran, Abeokuta, on October 24, Tajudeen had told journalists that she sold her three-year-old daughter to Oyesanya for N280,000 so she could offset a debt. She also confessed to have abducted the four-year-old girl in Bodija, Ibadan, on the demand of Oyesanya.

On Monday, November 13, 2017, they were arraigned on three counts bordering on kidnapping before they granted bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties each.

The residents of the community questioned the bail and have petitioned the Chief Judge of the state High Court, state Attorney General, Police Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions. They asked that the bail be revoked.

“The suspects’ arrest came about due to the vigilance of the community members who, upon suspicion that a kidnapped victim was kept in a house within the community, alerted the police. After investigation, the police charged the matter to court vide charge no MOO/368C/2017.

“The suspects were arraigned before Mrs. I.O. Abudu at the Owode-Egba Chief Magistrate’s Court. No plea was taken. That notwithstanding, the magistrate proceeded to grant them bail. We were reliably informed that the case file has been duplicated and sent to your (DPP’s) office for legal advice.

“While we appreciate the need for presumption of innocence of the suspects, we believe that the magistrate court acted in bad faith in releasing the suspects on bail. We, therefore, request your urgent action to ensure that the suspects are re-arrested and prosecuted,” the petition read.

Abimbola Oyeyemi, the state Police Public Relations Officer, said he is not aware of the petition yet. He further said the police does not have the power to re-arrest the suspects for the same offence for which they had been arraigned.

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