Alleged Drug Trafficking: Ex-LG Chief, Asekun, Asks CJ For Another Judge
A former Vice Chairman, Lagos Island East Council Development Area, Lagos State, Mr. Kehinde Asekun, who is standing trial before a Lagos Federal High Court, over alleged drug trafficking, has asked the Court’s Chief Judge, to transfer his case file to another judge, over the likelihood of bias by the trial judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji.
Asekun popularly called Owoiya, was arrested by the men of National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) with the drug on May 7, 2021, during the outward clearance of passengers on Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from Lagos to London, Heathrow at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
He was arraigned before Justice Faji on June 30, on a count charge of attempt to smuggle 1.01 kilograms of Cocaine to London, United Kingdom (UK).
The offence according to the prosecutor, Mr. Abu Ibrahim, is contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b) of the said National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He has been in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS) following the dismissal of his bail application by the court.
However, at the resumed trial of the charge on Wednesday, both the defendant and his counsel were not in court.
The Presiding judge, Justice Faji told the prosecution that the defendant’s counsel, Chief Benson Ndakara, has written a letter for an adjournment as he was bereaved.
The judge also informed the prosecutor that the defendant had written a letter to the Court’s Chief Judge (CJ) alleging that he is form Lagos Island with His Lordship and that in the past their families had issues and that the Judge was likely to be biased.
The judge told the prosecutor that he has replied to the letter and stated that he is not from Lagos Island and the he doesn’t know the defendant’s family, adding that the Chief Judge can take the file as he is not interested in the case.
The judge however stated that the defendant’s case file was kept in view, awaiting the Chief Judge’s decision.
No date has been fixed for the defendant’s continuation of trial.
The charge against the former Council chairman reads: “That you Asekun Sakiru Kehinde, Male, Adult, on or about the 7th May 2021 during the outward clearance of passengers on Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from Lagos to London, Heathrow at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos without lawful authority exported 1.01 kilogramme of Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 11(b) of the said National Drug Law Enforcerment Agency Act Cap N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.