Land dispute: Police dock grandma for hiring armed soldiers to intimidate community

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BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO

Uba Group

A grandmother, Tawakalitu Oladipo, has been dragged before Magistrate A. O. Daramola in Osogbo, capital of Osun State for allegedly hiring some armed soldiers to intimidate members of her community over land dispute.

Oladipo, aged 63, was also accused of engaging the services of the military men to kill one traditional ruler, Taiwo Amuda.

According to Police prosecutor, Inspector Elijah Olusegun, the woman committed the offence between April 14 and 15, 2022 at Opawusa area, Woru, Osogbo.

The charge sheet obtained in court read, “That you Tawakalitu Oladipo’ and others now at large, on the 14th and 15th days of April, 2022 at about 4:00pm at Opawusa area, Woru, Osogbo, Osun State did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit threatening violence and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.

“That you Tawakalitu Oladipo and others now at large, on the same day, time, place did with intent to intimidate or annoy, unlawfully employ the service of soldiers (yet to be identified) armed with guns and threaten to kill one Chief Talwo Amuda thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 86 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.

“That you Tawakalitu Oladipo and others now at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned Magisterial District, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanor offence to wit: conduct likely to cause breach of peace and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 517 of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.

“That you Tawakalitu Oladipo and others now at large, on the same date, time, place and in the aforementioned Magisterial District did in a manner likely to cause breach of the public peace, employ the services of armed soldiers (yet to be identified) to land dispute thereby causing panic and fear to the people of Woru, Osun State and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol. II laws of Osun State of Nigeria 2002.”

Oladipo pleaded not guilty to the four-count charge.

Her counsel urged the court to grant her bail adding, “the entire community is ready to support and give whatever it takes that this case is dispensed with. She is ready to stand trial and wont jump bail. She has been present whenever she was invited by the police.”

But the prosecutor raised objections to the bail application saying that, “the unknown soldiers are yet to be arrested. When the issue of life is raised in any allegation, the court holds it as a duty to look at condition in granting bail.”

“The issue of life raised by the prosecution is just mere speculation by prosecution and nothing to prove that any offence was committed. Section 36 holds the defendant innocent until proven contrary and Section 160 of the ACJL also empowers the court to grant the bail,” the defence counsel replied on point of law.

Magistrate Daramola overruled the prosecution’s objection and granted the defendant bail in the sum of N500,000,00 with two sureties in the same amount.

She said one of the sureties must be a home owner and the other a civil servant not below grade level 10.
Daramola said the civil servant must furnish the court with a letter of approval of suretieship from head of the ministry. The case was adjourned till August 16 for hearing.