Trial of suspects in the rape and murder of Blessing Omowumi Olajide, a 300-level Agricultural Science student of the University of Ilorin, began on Monday with the Department of State Service (DSS) tendering 40 items as exhibits.
A wooden toy gun was among the items tendered by the DSS operative, Igwe Imo, allegedly used by the suspects to commit the crime.
The suspects, Abdulazeez Ismail, Ajala Moses Oluwatimileyin, Oyeyemi Timileyin Omogbolahan, Abdulkarim Shuaib, Kareem Oshioyemi Rasheed, Abdullateef Abdulrahman, Daud Bashir Adebayo and Akande Taiye Oladoja were brought to court for alleged rape, murder and armed robbery.
The first three are the prime suspects in the case and are standing trial for rape and murder of the 24-year-old student in her Tanke, Ilorin residence early last month.
Other items tendered as exhibits included one blue Samsung phone with IMEI 352031/496383/6, one black Lenovo phone, one golden Nokia phone with model number TA-1053, one mother board, one blue Itel phone, one black hp 15 laptop with model number 15-r002se, one black hp pro book 45ogi with serial number 2CE3481LIP, and two other laptops, as well as two 500gb hard drives.
Also, the DSS presented three witnesses, who included girlfriend of the eighth accused, Zainab Olaiya who told the court that Akande Taiye called her with a phone number suspected to be that of the late Blessing Olajide.
She was tracked and invited by the DSS and this later led to the arrest of the accused person through her.
A policeman, Adewale Adesola, while being led in evidence described the sixth accused person as a neighbour he had known for the past 15 years.
He said the accused person gave him the stolen phone for safe keeping.
However, the police officer said in court on Monday that he kept the phone with him between June 10 to 12, 2021 but yet to institute an investigation on the item when he was invited by the DSS.
One of the defence counsels during cross examination queried why the witness kept the phone for that long without investigations and also said the witness helped the sixth accused to write statement while in DSS custody.
Justice Ibrahim Yusuf was however hard on the seventh accused lawyer, Sikiru Solagberu, on Monday for reportedly disrespecting the court.
The judge described the content of the press interview granted by the lawyer as irritating, while he also fumed that the lawyer had to deliver a letter telling the court of his decision to withdraw from the case through his secretary.
He, however, accepted Solagberu’s apology through his counsel, Kehinde Eleja (SAN) and discharged him accordingly.
The court had on June 7, ordered the arrest of Sikiru Solagberu, counsel to one of the suspects standing trial for alleged rape and murder for exhibiting conduct unbecoming of a lawyer after court proceeding by making uncomplimentary remarks in some television stations and social media platforms.
Justice Ibrahim Yusuf later adjourned the case till Tuesday, July 13, 2021 for further hearing on the matter.