A former Vice-Chairman of Lagos Island East Local Government, Asekun Sakiru Kehinde, currently standing trial for allegedly exporting 1000kg of cocaine out of the country has petitioned the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, seeking transfer of his case to a new judge. In the petition, Asekun expressed fears of the likelihood of bias on the part of the trial judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji.
The defendant alleged that himself and the trial judge hailed from Lagos Is- land and that in the past, their families have had issues. Responding to the allegations, Justice Faji denied being from Lagos Island and that he has nothing to do with the defendant’s family.
He added that he has no personal interest in the case and as such he is not aversed to its reassignment to another judge. Justice Faji had on July 15, 2021, dismissed Asekun’s bail motion and ordered accelerated hearing of the matter. On that day, the court also dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the defendant for been abandoned.
It would be recalled that Asekun was on June 30, 2021 arraigned before the court by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) on a count charge of exporting 1000kg of cocaine out of the country. The defendant however denied the alleged offence upon his arraignment.
The charge against the defendant reads: “That you Asekun Sakiru Kehinde, Male, Adult, on or about the 7th May, 2021, during the outward clearance of passengers on Virgin Atlantic Airlines flight from Lagos to London- Heathrow, at the Departure Hall of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja- Lagos without lawful authority, exported 1,000 Kiligrammes of Cocaine, a Narcotic Drug and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 12(b) of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act. Cap. N30 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.