An Abuja-based legal practitioner and rights activist, Kayode Ajulo has frowned at the continued detention of former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, insisting the offences they were accused of were bailable.
He was at Central Criminal Court, popularly known as Old Bailey, in solidarity with Ekweremadu and his wife Beatrice, standing trial for alleged conspiracy to traffic David Nwamini Ukpo, so his organ could be removed and given to their daughter, who has kidney failure.
He, however, vented his displeasure in a chat with both local and international journalists via zoom.
He said his presence at Old Bailey was to represent some interests and to see for himself if the fundamental rights of the Nigerian lawmaker and that of his wife have not been violated, as the case was of interest to many Nigerians, Africans, and some rights organisations.
The constitutional lawyer added that the ugly precedents of bail jumping set by former Bayelsa State Governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha and former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye, shouldn’t be used as reasons to deny Ekweremadu bail.
He said Ekweremadu’s wife was already enjoying bail and had also been appearing in Court without any record of legal infraction that could raise suspicion.
Ajulo said the regard accorded Beatrice should equally be extended to Ike, pointing out that he remained a respected Nigerian politician with high moral rectitude and that he is a lawyer with integrity, known for his sheer advocacy in the defence and promotion of rule of law. He said such an individual cannot jump bail.
“I was emotionally troubled when I saw Nigeria’s ranking Senator and a three-time Deputy Senate President appearing at Court via videolink from HMP Wandsworth. He couldn’t make physical presence at the Court. His wife is on bail and was placed in the Old Bailey dock too. Unfortunately, the trial of this case will not commence until May 2, 2023, while further hearing in the matter has been scheduled for October 31. So there is no basis for keeping the man in custody in perpetuity and denying him freedom…
“Here is a man, who is consistent in defending and promoting rule of law. He isn’t just a lawyer, but he has Phd in Law. So, the likelihood of him jumping bail as a parliamentarian cannot arise. Denying Ekweremadu bail will amount to violation of his fundamental rights and this also negates the principles the United Kingdom stands for, which is justice, fairness, rule of law and equality. But unfortunately, having appeared in Old Bailey to see for myself if the fundamental rights of Ekweremadu and that of wife have not been violated, with what I saw, I pray that Judge Richard Marks QC will be firm and fair going forward.”