By Anthony Adgidzi
The Investigating Police Officer, Hammed Kabir, that investigated the case of Dr. Fred Ayokahi, the Federal University of Lafia lecturer, caught in video molesting and beaten a young lady, Blessing Mathias, 21 years old, testified that the lady, Joy Ademola Ogundayo, sighted in the video was not an accomplice to the crime.
Even though Joy was not a defendant in the case, she was seen in the video that went viral on social media with Dr. Fred and other perpetrators.
The matter which is before Justice Solomon Ayenajeh of High Court Obi, headquarters of Obi local government area of Nasarawa State, was today (11/1/2023) slated for hearing, where the IPO, Kabir testified as a witness in the court.
In the viral video, Dr. Fred and three of his children: Emmanuella Ayokahi 18 years, Saint-Dan Ayokahi 21 years, Bob Praise Ayokahi 23 years, including one Vera, an accomplice, who is still at large were capture assualting Blessing Mathias.
Joy Ademola Ogundayo was also sighted in the video and was traced and invited for questioning by the police. Her statement recorded was tendered in the Court, which was objected by the defense counsel.
Both Vera and Joy are friends to Emmanuella Ayokahi, daughter of the university’s Don.
They were first arraigned at High Court 1, before Justice Aisha Bashir-Aliyu, the Chief Judge of Nasarawa State on six (6) Counts Charge of Criminal Conspiracy under section 96, House Breaking under section 346 of the panel code, voluntary causing grievous hurt without provocation, section 241 of the panel code, adduction under section 272, and Criminal Force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty; punishable under Section 97, section 354, 247, 273, 268 of the Penal Code Laws of Northern Nigeria respectively.
The police investigating officer, who testified on oath during examination in Chief led by the prosecuting counsel, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, narrated that, Joy was not part of those that committed the crime against Blessing Mathias and the state.
He said, according to preliminary investigation, Emmanuella Ayokahi, who is a friend of Vera still at large, told Joy, her room mate that, Emmanuella Ayokahi’s father and her siblings are going to arrest Blessing Mathias for snitching and betraying her friend, Emmanuella.
“Joy who peep out and saw Emmanuella’s father and her siblings in a black Hilux Ford, concluded that, they were policemen and joined them.
“Unknown to Joy, their mission to Blessing Mathias’s house was different, and immediately the gate/door, where blessing was residing was opened, they went straight to her room and started beating her.
“Even when Blessing was begging them to show her mercy, they paid deaf hear to her plea.
“They also dragged her from her room to the car, and drove to a bush off Kwandere road and continued another rounds of the beaten there.
“The beaten was so thorough that, they tore her clothe, while Emmanuella’s father, Dr. Fred used scissors to cut off the clothe of Blessing, naked and dumped her there.
Kabir said, according to the statement in record, Joy insisted that, they should go back and take Blessing to hospital or she will raise alarm, because, leaving her there, she might end up losing her life due to the severe beaten and torture.”
According to Joy, the officer said, they lied to her, and what she saw them doing to Blessing was completely different from what they initially told her.
The statement by Joy Ademola Ogundayo, he said, was voluntarily recorded under his supervision.
The statement was however admitted in court as exhibit.
The defense counsel, Joseph Kigbu, objected to the admissibility of the statement of Joy Ademola Ogundayo, saying “the document is suspect.”
Kigbu further that, the document was full of alterations, which make it not valid inline with the criminal trail.
“This rendered the document not valid for a criminal trail” and urged the court to reject the statement.
“It is wrong for a witness seeking to tender the statement, that is not the maker of the statement and cannot be cross examined on the content.
He prayed the court not to admit in evident the statement.
The Prosecuting Counsel, the State Attorney-General, Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, who personally led the IPO in the examination in Chief said, the state is ready to present witnesses that will ensure Justice for the victim and that will serve as a caution for those indulging in such act in future.
The Attorney-General said, a statement made before the police, recorded and received by the police becomes a public document that can be tender by the police.
He said, the claim of the defense counsel is irrelevant and as such, the document can be admitted, as the witness has laid the foundation as required by the law.
Kana added, from all accounts and prescription, the statement is relevant. The fact that the document is a public document, and the submission of Kigbu on the alterations does not affect the relevancy of the statement.
He therefore urged the court to dismissed the objection of the respondents counsel for Justice and equity.
The presiding Judge, Justice Solomon Ayenajeh, who relied on section 83, subsection (2) of the Evidence Act, said the statement in evidence can be tender in the absence of the maker of the statement, once the document is not offensive to any law.
Justice Ayenajeh stressed that, a Police Officer can tender a statement in evidence by the maker and therefore refused the objection and marked the statement of Joy Ademola Ogundayo as exhibit ‘A’.
On the statement of Dr. Fred, which was tendered at the court was admitted and marked as exhibit ‘B’ while that of his children were objected by the defense counsel.
Kigbu said, the statement of the children was obtained under duress, coarsion, beaten and all manner of inhuman conduct and therefore are not admissible by law.
The Attorney-General, who did not object the need for trial within trail, was optimistic that, the evidences brought before the court are genuine.
Meanwhile, the presiding Judge, Justice Ayenajeh adjoined the matter to February 2, 2023 for trail within trail.