Lagos govt opposes bail application of man charged with complicity in death of wife

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Lagos State Government has opposed the bail request of Mr. Ikechukwu Ogbonna (IVD) who is currently languishing at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre for a charge of involuntary manslaughter following his alleged complicity in the circumstances which led to the death of his wife, 35 years old Mrs. Bimbo Ogbonna.

Precisely on 31st of January 2023, a Lagos State Magistrate Court had remanded, Mr. Ogbonna in Ikoyi Correctional Centre pending his formal arraignment on a charge of manslaughter of his wife.

Bimbo died following severe burns inflicted on her in a fire incident at their home while her husband rather than call for rescue was seen video recording the burning house from outside the premises.

Despite this sad development, Mr. Ogbonna was still allowed to breathe the air of freedom until Amnesty International and Men Against Rape Foundation (MARF) made interventions on the matter.

While the Executive Director of MARF, Lemmy Ughegbe, speaking at a press conference, exhibited persuasive and compelling evidence sufficient for Lagos State to re-arrest and file fresh charges against Mr. Ogbonna, Amnesty International and Bimbo’s family through their counsel, Barr. Odiana Eriata wrote the Lagos State command demanding a review of the charge of negligence as it fell short of expectation of law.

In what appears to be a response, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, reviewed the charge upward by slamming on Mr. Ogbonna the charge of manslaughter punishable under Section 229 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State with life imprisonment.

When the matter came up today before Magistrate Court 7 presided over by
Mrs. Adebayo Kafayat Tella in the yaba magistrial district, Holden at court 7, ebute-metta, she refused Mr. Ogbonna’s bail plea and ordered that he be remanded in prison until March 7, 2023 to enable the Director of Public Prosecution to file the charge at the right court.

However, eager to breathe the air of freedom, Mr. Ogbonna on Thursday, 9th of January 2023 approached the Lagos State High Court, praying it to grant him bail, pending his formal arraignment by the Lagos State Government.

In the bail application argued by his counsel, Victor Ogude (SAN), he prayed the court to grant his client bail to enable him support his children financially.

Ogude (SAN) claimed that the charge of manslaughter was bailable and therefore entitled his client to bail.

In an affidavit in support of the bail request deposed to by Ogbonna’s brother, Ifeanyi Elvis Ogbonna, he said the applicant was emotionally and psychological drained in custody without being arraigned.

Opposing the bail application, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr. Babajide Martins said Mr. Ogbonna was a flight risk and could flee from justice if granted bail based on the severity of the punishment for the offence.

It is trite that offences that attract capital punishment are ordinarily not bailable except on special and compelling circumstances of a life threatening ailment.

Dr. Martins also argued that applicant’s counsel has not shown any compelling reason why his client should be admitted to bail.

After listening to the arguments by both counsel, Justice Nicole Clay adjourned to 23rd of February 2023 to deliver a ruling.

Ogbonna is facing a fresh charge of involuntary manslaughter contrary to section 224(b)/and punishable under section 229 of Criminal Law of Lagos state.

If found guilty, Ogbonna would be facing life imprisonment as prescribed by Section 229 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

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