The courtroom was filled to the brim.
A huge crowd of Corps members, officials of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), members of various Non-Government Organisa-tions (NGOs) and journalists.
They came to witness the proceedings in a rape case involving a traditional ruler.
The Alowa Ilowa-Ijesa in Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State, Oba Adebukola Alli, was yesterday arraigned at an Osogbo Chief Magistrate Court for allegedly raping a 24-year-old Corps member, Miss Hellen Okpara. Miss Okpara was undergoing her primary assignment in his domain.
The traditional ruler was first arraigned on March 30.
For lack of jurisdiction, presiding Magistrate, Mr. Olalekan Ijiyode, transfered the case to the Chief Magistrate Court presided over by Mr. Adewumi Makanjuola.
After the case had been mentioned, the monarch, who was accompanied to court by one of his wives rushed into the courtroom.
He was ordered to remove his cap in the court, an order he promptly obeyed.
Mr. Ijiyode said he was interested in the matter because of the challenges the case posed to his position and profession, but stressed that "as a Senior Magistrate Grade 1, I do not have the right to preside over such case".
"I’m constrained by the provisions of the law that sets up my jurisdiction. Only the Chief Magistrate can handle this kind of a matter. Ordinarily, I would have loved to handle this case because of its sensitive nature, but the laws do not allow me. The case is hereby transferred to the Chief Magistrate’s Court for proper hearing," he said.
Oba Alli pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
His counsel, Mr. Tewo Lamuye, who pleaded with the court to allow his client continue with his bail, which the Magistrate’s Court had earlier granted him on liberal terms, argued that his client did not commit a capital offence.
Lamuye assured the court that his client being a traditional ruler, could not jump bail if granted, since the court had earlier granted him bail in liberal terms.
Lamuye said his client should be presumed innocent until proved otherwise, assuring that the traditional ruler was ready to stand for trial and report in the court whenever he is needed.
Police prosecutor Benjamin Akindoyin and counsel to the defendant, Mr. Hammeed Ibrahim, opposed the bail application, but the court granted the accused bail in the sum of N250,000 and two sureties with three years tax clearance.
The case was adjourned till August 11.
Source : www.thenationonlineng.net