A Magistrate’s Court in Lagos has berated the police for allowing a co-suspect in a criminal case, Nicholas Onwusi, to stand surety for an alleged accomplice. The police had arraigned Onwusi before Magistrate A.A. Adefilure on charges of conspiracy to commit felony and obtaining N2.65m from a man, Popoola Joel, under false pretences.
However, in an interesting twist to the case, third count of the charge stated that Onwusi failed to produce one Emmanuel Ugwu, who he stood for as surety at the ‘X’ Squad unit of the Lagos State Police Command. Meanwhile, the Investigating Police Officer, Sgt. Olu Olugbuyi, while buttressing the third count told the court that Emmanuel Ugwu, the principal offender, had since jumped bail.
Olugbuyi pointed out that he was also surprised that Onwusi could be allowed to stand as surety for Ugwu. He said, “The matter as it were was initially with the Lagos State Police Command. But the complainant in the matter (Popoola Joel) wrote a petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 2 about this same issue… He said he was dissatisfied with the way the case was handled. As a result of this, I was asked to take up the matter. The former IPO can be summoned by the court to explain why he allowed that to happen… This looks ridiculous and it is a serious indictment on the police as it is never done anywhere. It was even placed in the charge sheet,” he said.
But the magistrate, Adefulire, said it was wrong for a suspect to stand surety for another suspect in the same criminal matter. Adefulire later admitted Onwusi to bail in the sum of N500,000 with two responsible sureties after he pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him. He subsequently adjourned till November 28 for further hearing.