Kemisola Ogunniyi, an 18-year old teenager then was on her way to the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) to collect money for her mother’s treatment when she was apprehended by the Nigerian Army at random and handed over to the police for investigation. She was later alleged to be part of those who set the AKETI CAMPAIGN OFFICE , Akure, on fire during the EndSARS protest that took place in October 2020.
She was arrested on the 22nd of October 2020 and detained by the police in Akure, before being charged to the Magistrate Court in Akure which declined jurisdiction on the case based on the gravity of the offences before fresh charges were filed against her and others by the state government at the High Court, Akure, in Charge No. AK/3C/2021.
On the June 16, 2021, Kemisola gave birth in prison, a child named Okiki, who is now two years and one month and after concerted efforts and public outcry, on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, Kemisola was released to her counsel, Tope Temokun, from the Surulere Prison in Ondo on the order of the Ondo State High Court presided by Justice Omolara Adejumo, on the compassionate bail given her that the naming ceremony of her baby should not take place in prison.
Bukunmi Ayodele, who was arrested alongside Kemisola was not so lucky. She spent few more months in prison after Kemisola’s release till she too was released on bail. Ever since, the two of them have been facing charges filed against them by the Ondo state government and we have been in court since 2021 to defend these two ENDSARS prisoners free, convinced that they were innocent of the charges against them.
Today, the 25th of July, 2023, the High Court of Ondo State at Akure presided over by Hon. Justice Kuteyi struck out the Charges against Kemisola Ogunniyi and Bukunmi Ayodele, in AK/3C/2021, after the state counsel, the prosecuting Counsel, Hellen Falowo Esq, informed the court that the Prosecution has decided to withdraw the charge against the Defendants, stating that it has become impossible to locate the vital witnesses needed for the prosecution of the Defendants, an application to which the counsel from the defence chambers, Tope Temokun Chambers, Adedotun Adegoroye Esq., did not oppose.
In the five-count charge filed against these innocent Nigerians which has robbed them of their freedom since October 2020 and kept them in prison for about nine months and in court for close to three years now are conspiracy to commit felony and arson, riotous assembly, stealing, and malicious damage. After close to three years, the State woke up today to realize that it did not have witness or evidence to prosecute these youths having wasted their precious youthful years since 2020.
We must not be tired to take the powers to task and if we have abandoned these youths to their fate, who knows what would have happened. But since 2021 that we came into this case, we have insisted they were innocent. On June 17, in my separate letters to the Ondo State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Sir Charles Titiloye and the Chief Judge of Ondo State then (now retired) Honourable Justice Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, demanding Kemisola’s release, I insisted she was innocent of the allegation levelled against her, which was the burning of Aketi Campaign Office Akure, as the charges against her were phantom charges. Today, history vindicates us!
Tope Temokun Chambers.
July 25, 2023