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Saturday, May 30, 2009

LAGOS WONDER: ‘AFRICAN SCIENCE’ ARRESTS CRIMINAL TRIAL


It was the stuff home video stories are made off: fantastic, magical and impossible occurrences taking place in ordinary everyday living.

Take one. A bandit is cornered by trigger happy police officers, yet the “bad man” appears unruffled and will not submit to arrest. Then the bullets start to fly, only to ricochet off his body.


Take two. A lady contractor was locked in an argument with a top government official in his office. She wanted a juicy contract for her company which was ill equipped to execute same. The government official was stoutly against awarding the contract to the woman’s company. Then the lady took permission to “ease myself.” In the small room, she put some black powdery stuff on her tongue, then came out smiling sweetly at the official. After seating down she gently suggested to the “hard man” to lock the office door. He obliged her.

She suggested to him that it would be nice for the two of them to “know ourselves better this morning.” The official nodded in agreement.

She undressed and asked the man to follow suit. He obliged her. When she left the office thirty minutes later, it was with the contract papers fully signed safely in her bag, with the dazed official apologizing for the delay in doing her bid.

Take three. After six months of hectic and dangerous efforts, a top detective finally secures the arrest of a notorious fraudster and child trafficker.

The case file on the suspect was fat. However on his way to the court to prosecute the criminal suspect, the detective saw his brief case open on its own accord. Then the case file and the envelope of Exhibits emerged from the brief case and flew, yes, flew out of the moving car into the sky and disappeared.

The next thing the detective knew was that he was lying critically injured, legs broken in a hospital bed – the shocking sight of the flying case file had distracted him and he was only lucky to be alive as he had veered off his lane to have a head on collision with a bus.

If any of the incidents described above appear outlandish and impossible, what can one make of a similar incident in a true life situation that happened on Friday 15th May 2009 in the court of a Lagos judge O.D. Oluwayemi .J.

On the fateful day, the prosecution called a star witness in the case of People of Lagos State vs Pastor Mrs Gift John and three others, to the witness box. The defendants in the matter which included the husband of Gift John were facing charges including running an illegal orphanage and child stealing.

About three years ago, when the defendants were apprehended by security agents, it made front page news, with the newspapers awash with the mystical powers of Pastor Mrs. Gift John.

In a Punch Newspaper interview, Opeyemi Bamidele Esq., a legal practitioner and then Lagos State Commissionser for Youth and Sports, gave a chilling account of the difficulties of the operatives he led to storm the alleged illegal orphanage of Gift John encountered before they could get the woman arrested.

According to Bamidele, even though Gift was in the premises of her orphanage, no matter how hard and long they searched for her there, she could not be found. In fact it was a case of the more you looked the less you saw. Gift John had simply vanished. Or so it seemed.

The situation, according to Bamidele changed dramatically however, when an operative of the dreaded Oodua Peoples Congress joined the team. The OPCer was said to have brought out a ring from his pocket, thrown it at a corner of the room and presto! The hitherto invisible Gift John became quite visible, cowering in a corner, semi nude (being only in pants and bra!).

According to our geckos, the trial started well enough on 15th May 2009, with the star witness (an employee of Gift John at the orphanage) presenting a clear, coherent story of what she knew about the matter.

But just as she got to the stage pertaining to the prime suspects, the lady suddenly seized her neck and head and couldn’t utter a word again. The presiding judge, Oluwayemi was shocked at this development while the prosecuting team went into disarray.

The accused persons remained cool, calm and collected in the dock. Much as the prosecution tried to make the witness continue with her testimony, the lady could not and the judge had no option than to adjourn the matter.

After the end of all cases in the court, prosecution stayed back in the court room to investigate the stricken witness. Surprisingly, the woman had regained her power of speech. She attributed her strange condition to spiritual attack. The prosecution decided to ‘test run’ her to see how she would fare.

Alas to the utter shock of the prosecution team, the witness who was doing fine with her narration got stuck at the point in her narration that she went dumb in her oral testimony before the judge earlier in the morning. Just like before, the witness became dumb again and worse, was showing physical signs of rising mental distress.

The situation greatly perplexed the prosecution and the relatives of the witness since it was all so clear that she was not shamming.

While it appears that all fingers are pointing in the direction of the defendants as the cause of the witness’ malady, being the only possible beneficiary of the ugly situation, there is no proof to ground the suspicion.

Certainly it will be interesting to know how the case will end.

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