A new twist has been introduced to the trial of suspects standing trial for the murder of former Ekiti State Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Omolafe Aderiye.
Aderiye was shot dead last year September in Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.
The late NURTW chairman’s personal assistant, Gbolahan Okeowo, said he was “tutored” by some officials of the Ayo Fayose administration to frame up the accused persons and a security aide to former Governor Kayode Fayemi, Adedeji Adesokan aka Jarule.
But the state government has denied the claims, urging the public to ignore Mr. Okeowo.
The accused are Adebayo Aderiye, Adeniyi Adedipe, Sola Durodola, Kayode Ajayi, Oso Farotimi, Sola Adenijo and Rotimi Olanbiwonnu.
At the court proceeding on Monday, Okeowo exonerated all the seven accused persons during his cross-examination by defence counsel.
In an affidavit of facts he deposed to at the Akure Division of the Federal High Court, he claimed that he deposed to an earlier affidavit which implicated the accused persons and Adesokan.
In the affidavit he said: “I state categorically that persons standing trial for the murder of Omolafe Aderiye in charge no: HAD/12C/2014: The State v Adebayo Aderiye and six others, were not involved and neither did they participate in Aderiye’s murder on the September 25, last year.
“Soon after Governor Ayo Fayose was sworn in, I was invited by Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, who was the Special Adviser (Legal) to Dr. Fayose who produced the statement I had given to the police on September 26, last year, wherein I wrote concerning what I witnessed to the effect that I did not recognise any person as the assailant and either did I mention the names of the persons standing trial as the suspects in the said statement.
“I was put under considerable pressure, including threats to my life and family, to write another statement which was tendered in court on October 7, the content which were dictated to me by Mr. Owoseni Ajayi, in company of Mr. Lere Olayinka, the media aide to the governor sometimes in October last year, which I backdated to September 26, last year on their instructions.
“The statement which I tendered in court was made in the office of Owoseni Ajayi at the Attorney General’s chambers, who in conjunction with Mr. Lere Olayinka provided me with the names of Adebayo Aderiye, Adeniyi Adedipe, Sola Durodola, Kayode Ajayi, Oso Farotimi, Adenijo Olusola, Adedeji Adesokan (Jarule) and Rotimi Olanbiwonnu and dictated to me what to write concerning them.
“Since I wrote the statement, I have been reporting to the office of Mr. Owoseni Ajayi at his office at Ministry of Justice, State Secretariat, Ado Ekiti, occasionally on his instruction.
“I emphatically state that none of the persons standing trial and/or indicted for the murder were present and/or participated in the killing.
“I made this affidavit for record and official purposes and state that I have not been induced in any manner whatsoever by any manner whatsoever by any person (s) to make this affidavit, and I did same of out my own free will and according to the dictates of my conscience and upon a reflection as to the nature of the sentence for murder.
“I have since been receiving daily threats to my life and grievous bodily harm from Mr. Owoseni Ajayi and Mr. Lere Olayinka in the event that I renege on my statement”.
But the Special Adviser to Fayose on Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka said: “This person you are talking about, I don’t know him facially, I can’t even identify him.
“I don’t know him, I have never met him, I don’t have anything to do with him. I am not a police officer, I am not a staff of the state judiciary. If he has said something before and he is now saying something else again this is the only thing I can say which he himself cannot deny.
“The last time he came to the court and gave evidence, the story was used on the radio and he called the following day that the story was giving him some problems that some people were threatening his life that was the only time we spoke.
“He said I should find a way to stop the story from being used on the radio and I told him that the radio was only reporting what happened in the court.
“He said he was being threatened, his family was being threatened and maybe because of fear for his life, he went to court and did some other things. That is his business, I have nothing to do with him”.