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Funsho Williams

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May.03, 2013


It is sad that solution to murder riddle is still not in sight, six years after

Six years after the high-profile murder of Mr. Funsho Williams, a former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship aspirant in Lagos State, there are perturbing signs that a solution is not in sight to the riddle. Rather, developments in the trial of the suspects held for the crime have introduced counter-productive complications. Williams, an engineer and a hopeful in the political campaign leading to the 2007 governorship election in Lagos, was stabbed to death in mysterious circumstances on July 27, 2006, at his residence, 34A, Corporation Drive, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The news of the damage to crucial exhibits in the case provided by the pathologist who conducted a post-mortem on the victim sounds unbelievably absurd. A prosecution witness, Ovie Oyokomino, a deputy commissioner of police in charge of forensics at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, reportedly told Justice Adeniyi Adebajo of a Lagos High Court, Igbosere : “The perishable evidence such as blood samples as well as the vitreous humour of the eye went bad due to interrupted power supply in the course of refrigerating.”

This is inexcusable, and betrays a lack of seriousness on the part of the investigators. Given the gravity of the crime, it was expected that the force would take adequate measures to prevent the loss of such vital evidence, including the employment of a generator where necessary. It goes without saying that power failure, blamed for the destruction of proof, regrettably mirrors the country’s infrastructural inadequacies. Also, the nature of the evidence, described as “perishable”, ought to have prompted an expeditious approach to the investigation.

Another major setback in the case is the alleged inconclusive DNA analysis carried out on blood samples from the six male suspects arraigned before Justice Adebajo in March. During a court hearing this week, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs. O.A. Akin-Adesomoju, made a request that is likely to further delay the conclusion of the case. She sought a court order to collect fresh DNA samples from the suspects in order to determine whether they matched blood stains found on a shirt at the crime scene. Intriguingly, she argued that another round of tests was required to confirm the culpability or innocence of the suspects. It is quite disappointing that this homicide matter is still at an early stage, to go by the prosecution’s position.

There is a puzzling tardiness in the investigation. It is noteworthy that the suspects, three of whom are policemen – Bulama Kolo, Musa Maina, David Cassidy, Tunani Sonani, Mustapha Kayode and Okponwasa Imariable – standing trial on a two-count charge of conspiracy and murder, have been in detention for some years, yet the case against them has not even been established. Interestingly, by way of defence, the prosecution supplied information meant to clarify why fresh blood samples could not be obtained earlier, stating that the High Court judge who granted the request at the time died without signing the order she made. It is not clear how and when this happened, but the reality is that the case has not progressed to the important stage of establishing the criminal involvement of the suspects.

It is certainly laudable that efforts are ongoing to solve the Williams’ murder, particularly against the background of several unresolved high-profile murders across the country. But the suspects deserve to be treated fairly, for they are theoretically innocent until their guilt is established beyond doubt in a court of law. The longer it takes to justify their detention, the longer they will suffer, perhaps baselessly.

There is no doubt that the prosecution’s argument for fresh blood tests, if it succeeds, will lead to yet another wait for results while the accused remain caged. However, since it is obvious that this evidence will be helpful in proving their guilt or innocence, a new round of tests would be in their best interest, if they are not blameworthy. In the final analysis, it is desirable to expedite the investigative process and ensure that justice is done.


Article Credit: The Nation Newspaper

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