BRT driver faces trial for rape, murder of passenger

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By Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos

The Lagos State Government has arraigned the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver, Andrew Nice Ominnikoron, before the state High Court sitting atTafawa Balewa (TBS) over the alleged rape and murder of his passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole.

Ominnikoron is facing a four-count charge bordering on rape, conspiracy and murder preferred against him by the state government.

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The defendant was docked before Justice Sherifat Sonaike on Tuesday, when the matter came up, the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr Jide Martins, informed the court that the matter was for the arraignment of the defendant.

The defendant’s counsel Mr Isaac Ezeawem did not object to his client’s arraignment.

Martins told the court that the defendant on November 25, 2021, allegedly raped a 29 year -old lady Nneka Maryjane Ozezulu, without her consent.

He said that the incident took place at about 7 pm, at Lekki- Ajah Conservation centre Lekki Ajah expressway Lagos.

Similarly, the prosecutor also informed the court that Ominnikoron conspired with others now at large and forcefully had sexual intercourse with another 22-year-old passenger, Oluwabamise Ayanwole, a fashion designer without her consent and murdered her.

Martins said the incident happened on February 25, 2022, at about 8 pm, at Lekki – Ajah Conservation expressway and Cater bridge.

He said that the defendant and others still at large on February 26, 2022, unlawfully killed one Oluwabamise Ayanwole by throwing her out of a moving bus at Cater bridge after having sexual intercourse with her without her consent.

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According to the prosecutor, the offences committed is contrary to and punishable under Sections 411,223,260 and 165 of the criminal law of Lagos State 2015.

However, the 47-year-old defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge against him.

Based on the defendant’s plea, the DPP urged the court to further remand him at the Ikoyi prison and asked for a trial date.

Consequently, Justice Sonaike ordered that Ominnikoron should be further remanded at the Ikoyi prison and adjourned the case to May 9, 10 and 11, 2022 for commencement of trial.

On March 11, Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court remanded the defendant in prison custody for 30 days over his alleged involvement in the death of Ayanwole, pending the DPP’s legal advice.

Magistrate OA Salawu made the order following an application by the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Yaba, Lagos.

Salawu, who stood in for Chief Magistrate Tunbosun Adedayo, ruled that Ominnikoron, should be kept at the Ikoyi prison pending legal advice on the matter from the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Magistrate adjourned the case till April 11 for DPP’s advice.

The police based its remand application with a temporary four-count charge marked A/26/2022 filed by Lagos State Police Command head of legal section, Superintendent Yetunde Cardoso.

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