"Narrating his ordeal to Source on Wednesday, Akimu said, “I had known Anyanwu for about a year before I decided to visit her in Lagos. She had a brother at Ozarra whom she frequently visited. Sometimes, she would stay for some weeks or a month before going back to Lagos.
“Like me, Anyanwu only had secondary school education. We were seeing each other during her visits to Enugu. So, when I was on annual leave in June 2009, I decided to visit Lagos briefly and see Anyanwu in her residence.
“It was my first visit to Lagos. The day I came to Lagos, I spent the night with a friend at Ikotun. The next morning, I went to Lekki, to the address Anyanwu had given me.”
Akimu said he succeeded in locating Anyanwu’s residence at about 11 am. After stating his mission to the security guard, he (the guard) admitted him into the compound. Unfortunately, he did not make it to the front door of the house before all hell broke loose.
He said, “Anyanwu’s home was at Lekki Phase. I don’t recall the name of the street. At the gate, I had to identify myself and who I came to see before I was let in. I met a girl in the compound, perhaps about 20 years, but I didn’t talk to her. As I walked up to the door, the girl let out a scream saying I was a thief. I was rooted to the spot. This girl kept screaming and screaming. Then about seven young men rushed out from behind the house. I think there was a boys quarters there.
“They all pounced on me and started beating me. Nobody asked me what I came to steal or how I got into the house. Anyanwu, who was in the main building before my arrival, then came out. She had been drawn out by the commotion. Immediately she saw I was the person being attacked, she pleaded with them to stop beating me. She told them that I was her friend. But nobody listened to her.”
While Akimu was being allegedly assaulted, somebody phoned Anyanwu’s uncle and alerted him of the development. “Eventually, Anyanwu’s uncle arrived, but his presence made no difference to me. Already, some policemen, perhaps from a nearby bank, had come to the house.
“They searched me and found nothing incriminating. But even that was still not enough. Anyanwu and I were then taken to the Maroko Police Station where we made statements. All this while, Anyanwu had been pleading with her uncle to let me be, but the man wasn’t listening.
“He seemed to be offended that I was dating his niece. Even the Investigative Police Officer asked Anyanwu what she had done to upset her uncle, but she had no answer for him.
“Things did not get better after that. My cell phones were seized from me. As a result, I could not contact my siblings and friends to tell them what had befallen me. After a few days, we were taken to Panti and from there to court. It was during our arraignment that I learned I was being accused of armed robbery and other offences. I was really shocked.
“All I did was visit my girlfriend at her home. I was remanded in Ikoyi Prison and since then, while Anyanwu was taken to Kirikiri. That was the last time I saw her. My last court appearance was in 2009. I could not afford the services of a lawyer until the Stephen and Solomon Foundation came to help me.”
A copy of the charge sheet made available to CRIME DIGEST showed that Akimu and Anyanwu were both arraigned on five counts of armed robbery, illegal arms possession, conspiracy and attempted kidnapping.
The lovers were said to have robbed a certain Vitus Ezinwa of N5m on June 16, 2009 at about 6.30 am at his Akanbi Disu residence. They were accused of making an attempt to kidnap a lady named Munachimso Ezinwa.
When CRIME DIGEST contacted Stephen and Solomon Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that offers free legal services to the indigent, the founder and human rights activist, Aigbonosimuan Giwa-Amu said, “Akimu’s plight was brought to our notice a few weeks ago and we have since taken up his case as his lawyers. When one has been charged for armed robbery, it is not easy to get the person out even when that person has been framed.
“Cases like Akimu’s abound in the prisons. There are even inmates whose relatives had them locked up for misbehaving. In fact, most of the inmates in our prisons are not convicted criminals. They are on remand, awaiting the Directorate for Public Prosecution’s advice and most for minor offences. This process is cumbersome and unnecessary.
“The Lagos State Attorney-General has the power to invoke a nolle prosequi in respect of offenders that have overstayed the length of the term they would have served had they been convicted. That way, all those inmates awaiting trail can be speedily released. There is no point in engaging the services of the Office of the Public Defender to defend those whose detention the AG can revoke.”Source