The planned arraignment of 57 men, by the Lagos State Police Command, over allegation of openly engaging in homosexual activitie was on Tuesday stalled due to lack of space in the courtroom to accommodate all the defendants.
The police had filed a one count charge of “making public show of a same sex amorous relationship with each others before Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Lagos against the defendants.
But their plea could not be taken because the courtroom, which was inadequate to even take in lawyers and other litigants, was too small to accommodate all defendants present for arraignment, before the court.
When the case was called for hearing, the defense counsel, Israel Usman informed the court that 46 out of 57 of the defendants are in court and they are ready to be arraigned.
But Justice Aikawa noted that only 36 names were listed before him as defendants.
The judge said, “I am going to record that most of the defendants are present in court because I only have 36 names before me.”
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“We cannot have 57 persons in this court. We have to look for a day we can use Court 2, so that it can be convenient for all. ”
The judge also stressed that since the defendants were all on administrative bail, the adjournment would not be unfair to them.
Justice Aikawa then adjourned the case till November 22 for arraignment while directing the prosecuting counsel, Joseph Eboseremen to serves all necessary documents on the defense to enable them file all necessary applications on the adjourned date.
The defendants were arrested on the 26th of August 2018 at about 2a.m at Kelly Hotel located in the Egbeda area of Lagos State.
The offence according to the prosecutor is contrary to, and punishable under section 5(2) of the same sex marriage (prohibition) Act 2013 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The defendants had earlier been arraigned before a Lagos State Magistrate Court sitting in Yaba on a three count charge bordering on cultism and cultist activities.
The charge filed before the magistrate by the police reads:
Count 1, “That you Segun Ode, 56 others and others at large on the 26th Day of August, 2018 At About 0200hrs At Kelly Ann Event Centre No 3-7 Aderele Street Egbeda Area Of Lagos, in the Lagos magisterial district did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit membership of unlawful society, attending meetings of unlawful society and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 411cap, ch,c17,vol.3 laws of Lagos state 2015.”
Count two, “That you Segun Ode ‘M’ aged 24 yrs, 56 others and others at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did belong to an unlawful society suspected to be known as ”Alora” confratemity and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 42 (a) Cap, Ch, C17,Vo|.3 Laws of Lagos state 2015.”
Count three, “That you Segun Ode ‘M’ 24, 56 others and others at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did gather yourseives together, attending meeting of unlawful society suspected to be known as “Alora” confraternity and thereby commuted an offence contrary to and punishable under section 43(1) Cap,Ch. C17, Vol.3 laws of Lagos state 2015.”