a white Thorsday made by God– Barr Olayiwola Afolabi based in Benin, Edo State led a team of journalists to Oko Prisons in the city of Benin- He was not on a prison visit to dole out his known provrrbial gifts to the pri
On the contrary, he was at the prison to effect the release of Mrs Enobong Isonguyo who was incarcerated there since 2013 for the suspected murder of her husband Engr Victor Gabriel Isonguyo, a senior director at Nigerian National Petroleum Company in Benin-
An Edo High Court judge, Geraldine Imadegbelo, sentenced her to death by hanging alongside their family psstor Udoka Ukachukwu The trial judge accepted that the prosecutor proved the murder case beyond resonable doubt-
Counsel to Mrs Enobong lsonguyo , Barr Olayiwola Afolabi, was dissatisfied by the verdict of the judge- Therefore , after legai consultatoon with his client, he got her approval to proceed on appeal- Behold, the court of appeal upheld the ruling of the high court in Benin-
Olayiwola Afolabi was not detered by the setback because he was duobly confident he had a good case- Aferall, all the material ingredients of murder alleged against his client had not been fully proven by the prosecutor- Given this fact , it is trite law for the judge to err in freeing her than err in coñdenming her to death that ìs irreversibĺe-
Furthrrmore, Olayiwola Afolabi reasoned that total empirical evidence is very critical in determining whether a murder suspect is guilty of the offence- Judges shouid not base their verdicts on absurd fiction , speculation and volatile imagination as it is now the case-According to him, such issues should not arise in law- They are unknown in Nigerian crimminal code-What is more?
Olayiwola Afolabi discovered that a major pillar of the prosecutor’s case was legally puerile- His evidence linking Mrs Enobong Isonguyo to her husband’s death is the confessional statement of the co-accused Pastor Udoka Ukachukwu – Impliedly, there is no direct evidence associating her with the alleged crime- She was not at the scene of crime neither did the prosecutor provide concrete evidence of her conspiracy in the death of her husband-
Based on all these assured lines of legal thought, Olayiwola Afolabi– after due approval of his client– proceeded to the Supreme Court- In a landmark judgment delivered by Justice Mary Odili in April 2022 she overturned the verdicts of both the lower court and court of appeal that sentenced Mrs Enobong Isonguyo to death- She ordered her to be released without any conditions, noting that the two courts miscarried justice in finding her guilty of murder- And, so, Mrs Enobong Isonguyo was saved from the gallows in strict adherence to the dikta of the crimminal còde while ignoring the whims and caprices of the uninformed, laymen in beer parlours-
It is to effect the release of Mrs Enobong Isonguyo , in accordance with Justice Mary Odili’s directive, that took Olayiwola Afolabi to Oko Prisons, Benin on May 5, 2022 accompanied by his legal team and a corpus of journalists -After he emerged from the prison with Mrs Enobong Isonguyo, an elated Olayiwola Afolabi eulogized Justice Mary Odili for her fair, upright and monumental judgment which according to him demonstrates that “the judiciary is the last hope of the common man”-On her part, Mrs Enobong Isonguyo fought back tesrs of freedom- Then, she said– “I thank God and my lawyer for everything- I am now an ambassador of Christ-” As she spoke, a big bibie was positioned under her left armpit-
Her co- accused Pastor Udoka Ukachukwu — founder of Land Of Evidence Church, Benin–escaped from Oko Prisons, Benin during the ENDSARS protesr in 2020 with his death sentence hanging on his head-
The prosecutor in the murder trial in his investigative report tended in court alleged a steaming amorous affairs beteeen Mrs Enobong Isonguyo and Pastor Udoka Ukachukwu resulted in a disputed pregnancy complained about by her husband- Following this, Pastor Udoka Ukachukwu conspired with Mrs Enobong Isonguyo to get her husband out of the way- Thereafter, the pastor killed him while riding one night in the man’s Toyota Corolla car inside which the pastor also burnt him beyond recognition-
Mrs Enobong Isonguyo denied any affairs with the pastor- She explained–“He has been very honest to us; so I don’t know what is happening—–God should intervene because I have never committed any crime before in my life- ”
Olayiwola Afolabi recommends the landmark judgment of Justice Mary Odili to lawyers and law teachers/ students for use in updating their knowledge in legal jurisprudence on the murder case-
Meanwhile, following victory at the Supreme Court in the murder case Olayiwola Afolabi inched his way to achieving the status of SAN- Also, he has shown that diligence , sacrifice, doggedness perseverance and emotive organic solidarity with a client are formidable foundations for building a succesful legal career- Lastly, by saving the life of Mrs Enobong Isonguyo from the gallows the three children of the Isonguyos are rescued from the spectre of orphanhood- Now, atleast, they have a mother to single-parent them- Atall atall na him bad pass.