Romanus Okoye, Lagos
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos High Court sitting at Igbosere on Monday adjourned until August 4 judgment on a plea bargain in the trial of 10 defendants charged with sodomy and assault on two women and a minor at Oba Morufu Market, Ejigbo.
Ipaye, took who took the decision via a virtual court proceeding, said it was due to the absence of interpreters for two of the defendants.
‘It is a fact that the constitutional rights of a defendant to have the matter interpreted to him in a language he understands cannot be breached,’ the judge said.
‘The matter cannot go on today; it is, therefore, adjourned until August 4, and the prosecution should ensure that both a Yoruba and a Hausa interpreter are provided.’
The first defendant, Isaka Waidi, a market leader, had sometime in March filed a plea bargain application of guilt to the charges to secure his freedom. He contended that since his arrest in 2014, he had been remanded in prison, and would have served his jail terms in case he was found guilty.
All the counsels, Mr Akin George for prosecution, Mr Kayode Ademiloye and Mr JH Bashir for the defendants, joined the proceeding.
The market leader, Waidi (61), Buhari Yusuf (22), Abdullahi Haruna (20). and Saheed Adisa (29), are standing trial for alleged torture and sodomy.
Others are Lateef Tijani (37), Ahmed Adisa (65), Azeez Akinosun (36), Jimoh Busari (50), Adekunle Adenuga (38) and Oloruntoyin Dauda (46) a woman leader in the market.
They are facing a 19-count charge bordering on conspiracy, attempted murder, sexual assault, maliciously administering poison, obtaining money by false pretences and deprivation of liberty.
According to the prosecution, the defendants, said to be members of the Odua Peoples Congress (OPC), had tortured with pepper and sodomised Mrs Ajoke Agomo, her daughter, Nike Salami, and her stepdaughter, Juliana Agomo, over alleged theft of pepper.