Nehimiah Adejoh, the suspect behind the wheel of the car that knocked down Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, told the court on Thursday that he had mistakenly run over the deceased and denied having any premeditated plan to kill her.
Adejoh, together with Igbekele Folorunsho and Festus Gbayegun were in the Kia Sorento SUV, with Registration number AZ 478 MKA, which knocked down Arotile on July 11 before she was pronounced dead at the NAFX64 Base Hospital.
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However, a Kaduna Magistrate’s Court on Thursday discharged Festus Gbayegun and Igbekele Folorunsho, based on the advice of the Kaduna State Ministry of Justice that the two were only friends of Adejoh and passengers in the vehicle, claiming there was insufficient evidence against them.
The Police prosecutor, DSP Martins Danjuma Leo, said after investigations and due consultation from the Ministry of Justice, it was advised to drop charges against the two occupants of the car while charging Adejoh with culpable homicide not punishable with death.
The statement from the Ministry read in part that Adejoh had admitted in his cautionary statement that on sighting the deceased walking along the roadside at the Air Force Base, he had informed the other suspects who screamed enthusiastically after which he stopped and started reversing the car in order to exchange pleasantries.
He, however, stated that he had mistakenly run over her and denied having any premeditated plan to kill her.
The cautionary statement of Igbekele Folorunsho had stated that when he noticed that Adejoh was driving speedily off the road, he had cautioned him, but unfortunately, Adejoh had gotten confused and ran over the deceased.
The statement stated that Folorunsho had outrightly denied any arrangement to cause the death of the deceased.
“He added that being a trained nurse, he assisted in resuscitating the deceased at the hospital but all attempt prove abortive until she was pronounced clinically dead,” it stated.
Adejoh, who was charged for the offence of culpable homicide not punishable with death, contrary to Section 191 of the Kaduna State Penal Code Law, 2017, was remanded to prison custody by Chief Magistrate Danjuma Hassan who ordered both second and third suspects to be discharged.
He fixed 3, October as the day for further hearing.
Flying officer Arotile, who was killed on July 14, was later buried with full military honour at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja on July 23, 2020.
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