DRAMA OF ALIBI

(Mr. Oriyomi, the man who is in conflict with Mr. Oloko because of “act of God” has been arrested by the Police for the offence of Robbery. He sits inside the Police Station with Barr. Ojulari and Mr. Mellow as he is being engaged in discussion.)

BARR. OJULARI: Mr. Oriyomi, don’t be afraid, we are with you in this struggle.

MR. ORIYOMI: Ah! See my life! That man has later found a way to incriminate me. I am suffering here! See the way the Policemen have beaten me up.

(He sadly shows the wound on his stomach and his back to Ojulari)

BARR. OJULARI: Why are they torturing you like this?

MR. ORIYOMI: They were telling to me confess voluntarily or they will kill me if I don’t confess. I keep on telling them that I know nothing about the incident, but they remain obdurate. Look at my swollen eye, look at my swollen feet, a big rod was lashed on it yesterday in the presence of Mr. Oloko himself!

BARR. OJULARI: Really?

MR. ORIYOMI: He and the Policemen were telling me that I will die on his matter and nothing will happen.

BARR. OJULARI: They had to be this wicked, to treat you inhumanly because of the offence that they are yet to know if you committed it or not!

MR. ORIYOMI: Yes o! I am in pain, I am in severe pain! Please help me lawyer. I don’t want to die in this matter. I am not a criminal. I know nothing about this offence. (Continues Crying as Barr Ojulari gives him a white handkerchief to wipe his tears).

BARR. OJULARI: Before we address why you were beaten like this, let us settle the substantive matter that brought you here. The offence alleged against you is capital one, not an ordinary Robbery, it is an Armed Robbery allegation.

MR. MELLOW: Please lawyer, I have been silent since we get to this Police station because I am unhappy. What can you do to help us in this matter please.

MR. ORIYOMI: Please help me Lawyer, I don’t know anything about this! I am being incriminated.

BARR. OJULARI: You will have to tell me the truth now, so that I will know how to deal with your case professionally. What do you know about this, you know you cannot lie to your lawyer, because lawyers don’t lie and they hate those that are lying?

MR. ORIYOMI: Ah! I’m doomed! I have told you the truth already. (Continues crying)

BARR. OJULARI: This is not a matter of crying, you know that this case is yours, and the result is yours too. Let me tell you the result of the offence you are being alleged to have committed. If it is ordinary robbery, you can be imprisoned for up to twenty-one years only[1], but this is a case of Armed robbery, you can be sentenced to death. Do you see why you must not lie to me now?

MR. ORIYOMI: Ah! I am done for! I don’t know anything about this case! So I may later be imprisoned or killed for an offence that I did not commit! Life is tough and mean to me. It started from the roof of my house that was taken away by the storm, it leaves me and my family in debt and lack of shelter! Now, I am facing a charge that can lead to my death! What have I done to deserve this? (Continues crying)

BARR. OJULARI: This is not a matter of crying! Those that caused you this will soon be piteid. Lest I forget, do you know the name of the policeman in charge of your case?

MR. ORIYOMI: Yes I do, it is Officer Olopa!

BARR. OJULARI: OK! No problem! You keep on saying that you don’t know anything about this offene. On the day that this incident occurred, where were you?

MR. ORIYOMI: Hmmm hmmm! (Sadly clears his throat) I was not around on that day. The event occurred on the 17th of this month, I was in Lagos on the 16th, 17th and 18th of this month. I followed my twin sons to write their Post UTME at Unilag. One of them has exam by 7.am on the 17th and the second one has exam by 4pm on the 17th.

BARR. OJULARI: OK!

MR. ORIYOMI: Because I don’t like driving in the night, I had to stay in Lagos with my twin sons in the hotel that I lodged in till 18th before I later arrived back to town in the evening of 18th day of this month. I was arrested publicly immediately I reached my house.

BARR. OJULARI: Wow! This fantastic! If we are able to prove to the Court that you were not around on the day of this incident, you will be discharged and acquitted! You have the DEFENCE OF ALIBI!

MR. ORIYOMI: Alibi?

BARR. OJULARI: Yes! The defence of Alibi is form of defence in a criminal matter like yours, it means that a person was in another place at the time of the crime, and so could not have committed it [3].

MR. MELLOW: So because he was somewhere else that day when the robbery was taking place, the law is on his side, and he won’t be sentenced to death again for this offence that he knowns nothing about?

BARR. OJULARI: Though he is an innocent until the Court found him guilty[4], but till then, the Court would still want him to prove his innocence if he has anything to prove[5]. This is what they should have based their investigation upon, instead of torturing you.

MR. ORIYOMI: Will I be freed if they find this in their investigation?

BARR. OJULARI: Yes! If the Police don’t free you, the court will free you! When the Policeman become serious, he will ask you some questions, there are some important things that you must tell him, and those are what we shall base your defence upon when we later get to Court.

MR. ORIYOMI: OK, what are those things please?

BARR. OJULARI: You must tell them the name of the exact place you were during the incident [6]. That will be the name of the hotel that you lodge in and the name of the room that you were assigned when you were in Lagos. Do you still remember those things?

MR. ORIYOMI: Yes! The hotel name is Lawslive Hotel, the room number is number 419. The hotel is at Agege Lagos. I spent two nights there. The receipts of the transactions I made in that hotel are still in my car.

BARR. OJULARI: Good! You must also tell them the company of whom you were at that time [7]. This means those people that were with you during that time at the place you were.

MR. ORIYOMI: Of course I can (he wipes his tears with a white handkerchief). I was with my twin sons that I accompanied to write their Post UTME. The waiters at that hotel can testify to this, can’t they?

BARR. OJULARI: They can! You are good! The last thing is that, you should be able to tell them what transpired at that place during the period of time that you were still there[8].

MR. ORIYOMI: That is not a problem. There was a wedding ceremony that day which was held in the hotel’s hall, Rihana was the gues artiste that sang for them, in fact Rihana wore “Buba, Gele and wrapper to the event, because it was a traditional wedding. She even sang “ We all want love” , one of her songs that I like at the event.

BARR. OJULARI: Wow! You must have had a wonderful moment there!

MR. ORIYOMI: Yes! In fact, everyone was surprised when they saw Rihana in Yoruba attire.

BARR. OJULARI: I am equally surprised too, even the Court will be surprised when we tender this evidence. The third option I just asked you now is not compulsory though[9]. But it will make your defence to be strong.

MR. ORIYOMI: Thank you lawyer, do you now believe in me?

BARR. OJULARI: Smiles! I don’t need to believe in you. If this matter gets to Court, my duty is to tell the Court what you told me with the application of my legal knowledge to check if you are guilty or not.

MR. ORIYOMI: I am very grateful Sir!

BARR. OJULARI: You must say all this to the Police to enable them to do proper investigation to check the veracity of your claim[10].

MR. MELLOW: Let’s say the truth! This man is wicked! Who knows if he had bribed the Policeman in charge of your case to torture you like this!

MR. ORIYOMI: Yes, he has bribed them, both of them were laughing as they saw me crying yesterday.

BARR. OJULARI: Stop that! Do not say what you don’t have evidence to prove if it later gets you in trouble.

MR. MELLOW: Ok Sir! My own very competent lawyer! What are we going to do about his body that has been shattered. Is there nothing wrong with it under the law? Should a police torture a suspect because he does not confess to a crime?

BARR. OJULARI: I will give you answer on that. Please excuse me, I have not eaten since morning. Would you please permit me to go and eat?

MR. ORIYOMI: No problem Sir! Please go and eat!

BARR. OJULARI exits

To be continued, In Sha Allah!

REFERENCES

[1] Section 401, 402 Criminal Code Act

[2] Ibid.

[3] Black’s Law Dictionary 9th Edition p87; Elegalam v. State (2021) 17 NWLR (Pt. 1650) p354 paras A-C

[4] Section 36 (5) 1999 CFRN

[5] Simi Johnson v. Commissioner of Police (1960) WNLR 118

[6] Ebere v. State (2001) 12 NWLR (Pt. 728) 617 at 635 paras C-G

[7] Ebere v. State (2001) Supra

[8] Ebere v. State (2001) Supra

[9] Nsofor v. State (2002) 10 NWLR (Pt. 775) 275 at 294-295; Ezeama v. State (2014) LPELR- 22504 (CA) page 33 paras. A-E

[10]. Egboma v. State (2013) LPELR – 21358 (CA) Pages 74-79 para A.



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