The scheduled arraignment of a former President of the Nigerian Indigenous Shipowners Association, NISA, Chief Isaac Jolapamo, over alleged illegal possession of firearms before Justice Yellim Bogoro, of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi was stalled on Friday.
When the matter was called by the court registrar, the defendant was absent, but his counsel was in court to represent him.
The police had in charge number FHC/L/404c/22 accused the Jolapamo of being in possession of several illegal firearms namely, Mar-22 calibre rifle, pump-action firearm, and a Double-barrel, all without lawful authorisation.
The charges filed against him read: “In the 3-count charge number FHC/L/404c/22 filed before the court, it was alleged that Chief Isaac Jolapamo was in possession of several firearms namely, Mar-22 calibre rifle, pump-action firearm, and a Double-barrel, all without lawful authorisation.
“That you Mr. Isaac Jolapamo ‘M’, sometime in March 2021 in Ikoyi, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit a felony, to wit; unlawful possession of Mar-22 calibre rifle with reference number 967475; you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 3, and punishable under Section 27(1)(a)(i) of the Firearms Act.”
In a bid to stop his arraignment, the defendant filed an application before another Federal High Court judge, Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa seeking a restraining order to stop his arraignment in court.
The defendant through his lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, either by themselves, servants or privies from arraigning him, via charge No. FHC/L/404C/22 alleging illegal possession of firearms at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, pending the final determination of the origination motion.
But the application was struck out and he was asked to go and answer the charge.
However, at today’s proceeding, the Police Prosecutor, E.K Ugwu informed the court that the Attorney General of the Federation, is taking over the prosecution of the defendant’s case.
Addressing Justice Bogoro, Ugwu said, “This matter was filed originally by the Police before this Honourable court.
“My lord, the defendant through his lawyer has written to the AGF office through a petition dated 7th February, 2023 to take over and review the matter before further action.
“In view of that, we are here to take over and get a date to enable us put our house in order.
“We have written to the Police to forward the original case file, that letter was dated 6th of January, 2023, we are yet to hear from them, My lord.”
Ugwu continued, “My lord in view of this, we are craving the indulgence for a date to enable us review the matter before other step or steps.”
Responding, counsel to the defendant, Femi Falana, SAN, said, “I confirm that we wrote a petition in respect of this matter because the Police said our client has no case to answer, only to turn around and file a charge.
“Having found merit in our petition, the AGF want to review the matter. Subject to the convenience of the honourable court, we are also asking for a short adjournment,” Falana said.
Justice Bogoro however fixed March 29, 2023 for report of the investigation.