A Lagos High Court judge, Justice Ebenezer Adebajo, yesterday, faulted the prosecutorial power of Lagos State using The State of Lagos, which stalled the trial of a teenager and three persons accused of armed robbery.
The defendants, Jamiu Saka, 16; Yusuf Lateef, 19; Chukwudi Onwuharanye, 18 and David Onokpise, 19, were said to have on May 19, 2012, invaded Sowers Ministry International during a vigil, whilst armed with guns and cutlasses, and robbed the General Overseer of said church, Apostle Nelson Opara, of his handset and money.
The defendants were arraigned on a three-count charge, offences contrary to Section 295(2) (b) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011, and they had pleaded not guilty.
When the matter came up in court, yesterday, with the defendants in dock, the state counsel, Olaitan Soetan, told the court that the matter could not go on as The State of Lagos was used as prosecution.
Justice Adebajo subsequently adjourned the matter to December 19 for ruling to be delivered on the prosecutorial power of Lagos State using The State of Lagos.
The judge ruled: “Section 3 of the Constitution is headed States of the Federation. It is by virtue of this section that a State belonging to the Federation, note the use of the word ‘of,’ is named as Lagos. Thus we have Lagos State.
“This application is brought against The State of Lagos. It is a State belonging to Lagos. Does Lagos own a State? Who is Lagos or what is Lagos?
“Lagos exists by virtue of Section 3 of the Constitution and it comprises of named local government areas. To say The State of Lagos is to refer in my opinion to a State that belongs to Lagos.
“It is not the same thing as Lagos State. It is for this reason that I do not accept that the party against whom the application is brought exists.”