A dismissed teacher in Abuja, Igoche Daniel Adah, charged with alleged sexual molestation offences before an Abuja High Court was among inmates that escaped from Kuje Correctional Centre when some gunmen attacked the facility. Adah was ordered to be remanded at the facility on June 23, 2022, when he was arraigned before Justice Akeem Fashola of the Federal Territory High Court in Jabi.
The Commissioner of Police in the FCT Command had put the dismissed teacher on trial over charges bordering on sexual abuse. Adah was slammed with one count charge to the effect that on April 15, 2021, he repeatedly touched the breast and other sensitive parts of a 14-year-old student of Destiny Academy, Lugbe, in Abuja where he was teaching. The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge punishable under Section 32 of the Child Rights Act.
At last Thursday’s proceedings, the accused person was not present in court fuelling speculation that he might have escaped from Kuje prison where he has been on remand since June 23. Adah’s lawyer, Terka Aondo, later confirmed that his client escaped from custody during the attack. He, however, claimed that the accused had returned to custody, but failed to produce him in court due to logistics hiccups.
Earlier, Justice Fashola had admitted the suspect to N500,000 bail after spending 21 days in remand at Kuje prison on the order of the court.The judge admitted the defendant to bail in the amount with two sureties in like sum.
Among other stringent conditions, Justice Fashola ordered that the accused person must produce two sureties, both of whom must be Federal Government workers and residents of the FCT. In addition, the judge held that one of the sureties must deposit his international traveling passport with the court’s Registrar pending the conclusion of the defendant’s trial.
While delivering the ruling on the defendant’s bail motion, Justice Fashola remarked that granting of bail in a criminal matter is entirely at the discretion of the court to enable a defendant to prepare for his defence in the trial.
The Judge specifically held that the sexual molestation charge against the dismissed teacher was a bailable one and not a capital offence. In another ruling, Justice Fashola vacated the arrest warrant earlier issued against the defendant during the period he refused to appear in court to take his plea.
The court held that having been arrest- ed, arraigned and his plea taken on June 23, the issue of bench warrant has been overtaken by events. Justice Fashola subsequently fixed October 27, 2022 for trial of the defendant in the one count criminal charge filed agains him by the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command.
Police lawyer, John Ijagbemi, had opposed the bail motion of the accused person on the ground that he had twice refused to appear in court to take his plea without any justification.
He had informed the court of how a bench warrant had to be issued against him and executed by police operatives before he could be apprehended and brought to court. While on administrative bail, the police lawyer had equally alleged that the defendant committed another offence of the same nature adding that the court must be wary of granting such a person bail.
The lawyer further stated that the administrative bail granted him by the police commissioner was abused as he refused to honour invitations extended to him by police immediately he was allowed home to prepare for his defence in the allegations against him. Besides, the prosecutor had stated that the defendant’s surety had to withdraw from standing for him when it became apparent that the accused person was evasive.