L-R: Nonso, Okechukwu and Ezeaka. Inset: Cynthia
A Yaba Chief Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday granted bail to two suspects arrested in connection with the alleged murder of Cynthia Osokogu,
But the driver who was accused of driving the prime suspect to Cosmilla Hotel, FESTAC, was remanded in prison custody.
The suspects granted bail – Nonso Ezike (22), who is the younger brother to Olisaeloka, one of the alleged killers, and Ezeaka Chinonso (27) – were arrested by policemen at Area E for receiving and selling Cynthia’s BlackBerry phone.
The two counts read, “That you Ezike Nonso Ifechukwu and Ezeaka Chinonso, sometime in the month of July 2012, at 93 Tedi/Memo Road Abule-Osun, Lagos in the Lagos Magisterial District did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: receiving robbed/stolen property thereby committed an offence and punishable under Section 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
“That you (accused persons), on the same date, time did knowingly receive one white BlackBerry phone valued at N85,000 from one Ezike Olisaeloka also known as Chidera, property of Cytnhia, knowing same to have been robbed/stolen and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 326 (1)(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
Nonso’s lawyer, Mr. J. C Ngobili, told the court that the accused was a student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, and prayed the court to grant him bail in liberal terms.
The Magistrate, Mr. P.A. Adekomaya, admitted that although the offences were bailable, he pointed out that the bail condition ought not to be too liberal in view of the circumstances surrounding Cynthia’s murder.
He granted Nonso and Ezeaka bail in the sum of N500,000 each with two sureties in like sum, adding that the sureties must not be teachers or local government employees. He added that the sureties could be bank tellers.
He said, “The court observes that the matter at hand is a bailable offence but in order to deter the defendants from flight, I hereby subject them to bail of N500, 000 each with two sureties in like sum.”
The third accused person, Gideon Okechukwu, a driver, was however charged with eight counts of murder, rape, robbery, conspiracy, administering a harmful substance to the deceased among others.
The charge reads in part, “That you, Gideon Okechukwu, and others charged to court, on the same dates, time and place, in the aforesaid Magisterial district, did unlawfully kill one Cynthia Osokogu (25) by administering her with obnoxious substance known as Rohypnol Flunitrazepam tablets via a Ribena drink, binding her with padlock and cellotaped her legs, neck and mouth, giving her fist blows all over her body, giving her several human bites, tortured and strangled her to death and thereby committed an offence, punishable under Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.”
Okechukwu had told PUNCH Metro before he was arraigned that he only drove the alleged killers from the area where the hotel was situated, adding that he had no role in Cynthia’s murder.
Okechukwu’s lawyer, Bello, prayed the court to also grant the accused bail, adding that he had been held at the State Criminal Investigation Department.
The magistrate, who quickly interjected, explained that it wasn’t within the jurisdiction of the court to grant bail for such offences.
He said, “Do you think I am drunk or under a spell that I would grant bail for such offences? Before this court is an application for remand. The accused person can only be granted bail based on the advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions or order from a superior court.”
Okechukwu was remanded in Ikoyi Prison. The matter was adjourned till October 3, 2012.