Lagos govt to re-arraign five Unilag students over gang-rape

The Lagos State Government has amended its charges against five students of the University of Lagos accused of gang raping a 19-year-old female student (names withheld).
It would be recalled that the students identified as Moboluwaji Omowole, 19; Chuka Chukwu, 19; Peace Nwankama, 19; James Aguedu, 20; and Osemeka Josephine, 20; were arraigned before an Ikeja Domestic Violence and Sexual Offences Court, Lagos.
The State prosecutor, Jide Martins, Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), informed the court that the prosecution has amended its charges and had served counsels to all five defendants.
The five students were docked on a three-court charge - defilement of a child, permitting the defilement and procuration.
The students, who are now in Kirikiri prison custody, allegedly committed the offences in January 2017 at the premises of Unilag, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos.
However, the students were represented by Rasak Abudu (Counsel to Omowole), Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN (Counsel to Chukwu), O. C. Aibangbwe (Counsel to Nwankama), Lawal Pedro, SAN (Counsel to Aguedu), and M.J Edechime (Counsel to Josephine).
During Thursday’s proceeding, the trial was however stalled following the absence of the 1st defence Counsel, Abudu, who sent a letter dated May 1, to the court notifying his absence.
Opposing the request of an adjournment on the instance of the Counsel to the 1st defendant, the prosecutor argued that the proceeding was slated for continuation of trial and urged the court amended charges be read to the defendants.
However, while other Defence Counsels agreed to the request of adjournment, but stressed that the amended charges were just served on them by the prosecution.
While some argued they were yet to he served, others argued that the amended charges had entire changed the course of their brief.
It could also be recalled that Justice Abiola Soladoye had at the last proceedings denied and dismissed the bail applications of all five defendants and thereafter granted an order for an accelerated hearing on the matter.
According to the judge, the charges against the defendants are serious offences which carry a penalty of life imprisonment, if found guilty.
Meanwhile, the State prosecutor, Mrs K.A Momoh-Ayokambi, had earlier informed the court that Omowole and another individual who is now at large defiled the complainant (name withheld) by having unlawful sexual intercourse with her.
“Chukwu, at his premises located at No. 25, Shobande St., Akoka, Yaba, Lagos knowingly allowed Omowole and the other individual who is still at large to defile the complainant.
“Nwankama, Aguedo and Osemeka between January 2017 to March 2017 were into procuration of underage girls for the purpose of defilement,” Momoh-Ayokambi said.
The victim, who was led in evidence by the prosecutor, had also narrated how her roommate lured her into a room where she was gang-raped by eight male students and constantly blackmailed with a video recording incident.
The matter was further adjourned till June 27 for continuation of trial.

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