By Lucy Osuizigbo and Jibola Alli-Hakeem
The Lagos State Government (LASG) says it will pursue the cases it filed against Prophet Temitope Joshua (a.k.a. T.B. Joshua) and Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans, to their logical conclusions.
The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, said this when presenting the Ministry of Justice’s stewardship at the 2018 Ministerial Press Briefing in Alausa, Ikeja on Thursday.
It was part of the activities to mark three years that Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State assumed office.
LASG had instituted a suit against T.B. Joshua and his church, The Synagogue Church of all Nations (SCOAN) after a part of its church building under construction collapsed on Sept. 12, 2014.
It killed no fewer than 115 persons that included 85 South Africans who were on pilgrimage to the church.
Both Joshua and SCOAN are jointly facing 110 counts of involuntary manslaughter, while the Registered Trustees of SCOAN are facing a charge of building without approval from the appropriate state government agencies.
Also, the alleged kidnap-kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans, was arrested in August 2017 for alleged kidnapping.
The Lagos State Government had charged him and three others with fresh five counts bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder.
Kazeem addressing newsmen also said that dispensing with such high profile cases in any court of law is usually very slow.
“The wheels of justice move very slowly at times, especially, when it is a high profile case.
“That is why the case involving the Synagogue Church and its founder has been dragging on for a couple of years.
“Only recently, the prosecution closed his case but usually, when prosecution closes his case, the defence counsel is supposed to open his defence.
`However, the defence counsel filed a ‘No case submission’ claiming that the state had not established any case against the suspect.
“But I am happy to state that they lost the “ no case submission’’.
“ They were instructed by the court to open their defence so that the matter can progress.
“I believe that very soon, we will come to a conclusion of that matter.
The commissioner also spoke on the case involving the alleged kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike a.k.a Evans.
“On the Evans matter, we have opened the case in the court of law.
“The lawyer that is representing him is trying to play games but with all his games (pranks) we have been defeating him in court.
“We have filed different suits against him, some for kidnapping while some for murder.
“His lawyers have been trying to defend him against these charges but we are very hopeful that we will defeat them at the end of the day,’’ he said.
The commissioner also said that the state government was still studying the judgment delivered by the court in the case involving Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, popularly known as Rev. King.
NAN reports that Rev. King is the founder of Christian Praying Assembly whom the court had sentenced to death by hanging following his murder of one Ann Uzoh, a member of his church in 2006.
The commissioner said that the state would be fair to all in the matter.
“The truth of the matter is that Rev. King, as high profile as he may appear to be, is just one of the people on death roll.
“His case will be considered like any other. If at any point in time it gets to the point where the state has to execute the sentence passed on him by the court, it will be carried out.
“If he is worthy of clemency, that will be given to him by the state. But we have not yet got to that point. So, he should continue to cool his heels in prison,’’ he said.
Kazeem attributed the slow pace in the dispensation of justice to the insufficient number of high court judges in the state.
According to him, Lagos State with a population of over 20 million requires a minimum of 120 judges but it has 54 judges at present.
“Gov. Akinwumi Ambode has always said that number of judges in the state high court is too small.
“But right now, there is a bill before the Lagos State House of Assembly (LAHA) to amend the high court law to drive the process of getting the required number of judges that we seek.
“We are hopeful that LAHA will give it a positive consideration,’’ Kazeem said.