The 42-year- old Hamani Tijani, a suspected cross-border robbery kingpin, died on Sunday after suffering partial stroke for nine months at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons in Lagos.
DSP Biyi Jeje, the spokesman for the Nigerian Prisons Service, Lagos Command, confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Jeje said that Tijani died at about 9.00 am in the clinic of the maximum prison.
He said that the service had earlier invited the state officials to examine Tijani’s health in December for possible transfer to another hospital.
According to him, a team of medical experts were sent to the prison by the Lagos State Government before Christmas to examine him, but the outcome of their findings was not made available.
Tijani, a citizen of Niger Republic, was arrested sometimes in September 2003 in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and moved to Abeokuta, Ogun State, briefly before he was transferred to Kirikiri.
NAN reports that the deceased spent 11 years in prison custody while his trial was still ongoing before his death.
Tijani was standing trial before Justice Sybil Nwaka of Lagos High Court on a three-count charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery and receiving stolen goods.
The defendant had through his lawyer, J. H. Bashir, filed a “no case submission’’ and asked the court to discharge and acquit him for lack of diligent prosecution.
His request was, however, refused by Justice Nwaka in a ruling delivered on Oct. 23, 2012.
When the matter came up on Jan. 14, 2013, the prosecution was not in court and the case was adjourned till March 12, 2013.
However, the trial was stalled again on the adjourned date as the court did not sit and the case was further adjourned till May 9.
Jeje told NAN that Tijani’s corpse had been deposited at the mortuary in Ikeja General Hospital pending further instruction from the appropriate authority. [NAN]