The arraignment of 57 men charged with engaging in amorous gay relationships could not go on at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday because of the absence of some of the defendants.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) nine of the defendants were discovered to be absent in court when the case was called on Friday.
As a result, the prosecution was consequently directed by the court,to amend the charge to reflect the names of those defendants who are present to face trial while the court has now fixed Nov. 27 for them to take their pleas.
This was the second hitch the case will suffer. It can be recalled that on Nov. 5, the scheduled arraignment of the defendants could not proceed following a lack of adequate space in the courtroom.
The forced the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Aikawa to adjourn the case until Friday, for arraignment in a more spacious location.
The defendants are: Segun Ode, 24; Afolabi David, 20; Azeez Tunde, 22; Adedokun Pelumi , 22; Smart Joel ; 25, Iyodun Ehiosun, 20; Rilwan Jamiu, 24; and Raphael Matthew ,38.
The others included Friday John, 21; Godswill Kola, 22, Chibuike Emmanuel , 23 , Prince Collins, 23, Daniel Aya, 22, and Edeh Amarachi , 20.
Also to be arraigned are ; Alozie Innocent’, 21 , Kelvin Nwachukwu, 23, Okekoya Gbemi, ’32, Odika Emmanuel , 25, Kufo Emmanuel, ’27, Adewole Micheal , 27, Kunle Samson, 29, Daniel Soka, 23, Alabi Olamilekan , 21, Oluwaseun Odu , 26, and Oladipo Eniola , 24.
Bobby Moses , 21, Desmond Onuha, ’23, Joseph Victor, 23, Omoniyi Tobi, ’21, Kelvin Abuchi , 22, Mohammed Abubakar 26, Lawal Yusuf , 22, Odusina Micheal, 23, Wole Ojo , 24, Remy Godwin , 21, and Abiombola Damilola, 21, are on the list.
Also named are; Laguda Olamilekan , 23, Alhassan Opeyemi, 23, Samson Ode, 23, Musibau Remi , 33, Ibrahim Yusuf, 24, Olajide Olaide , 23, Isaac Patrick, 23, Wasiu Ajibade, 25, Oguaghanba Onyeka, 41, and Okechukwu Noble , 25.
The others are: Balogun Olanyinka, 23, Abioye Wealth Olasunkanmi , 25, Isa Asoma, 25, Rasheed GBenga, 25, Obiafor James , 20, Jesse Paul 22, Oladipo Femi, 25, Ogunirinde Yusuf 28, Chris Godsent , 23, Solomon showole, 27, Olawale Adebayo 26 and others at large.
The police alleged that the defendants were arrested at a Hotel in Egbeda on Aug. 25, 2018, adding that they were picked up at 2a.m. while performing gay initiation rites for newly-recruited members.
They were first arraigned before a Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos.
They had all pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of conspiracy, membership of a secret cult, and unlawful gathering.
Chief Magistrate Kikelomo Ayeye had admitted them to bail in the sum of ₦200,000 each, with one surety each in the like sum.
The police however, filed a count charge against the defendants at the Federal High Court.
In the charge marked FHC/1/311c, the police alleged that the defendants made “public show of a same sex amorous relationship with each other in hidden places within Kelly Hotel” Egbeda.
The police said that the defendants’ actions contravened the provisions of Section 5(2) of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act, 2013.