Babatunde Ajenifuja, a Nigerian man, who is standing trial for the alleged murder of a community leader’s son in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos State, on Wednesday, appeared before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the state High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square.
The prosecutor, Agba Eimunjezi, led the first witness in evidence.
The witness, Benson Okuyelu, told the court that the defendant hit the deceased after a meeting to resolve a land dispute.
He said Ajenifuja and the victim’s family were from the same Nanaye lineage.
Okuyelu explained that the defendant’s families were Christians, while the victim’s family, the Gbadamosi, had a shrine on a part of the land where they worshipped.
According to the witness, one plot from the land was given to a surveyor, and two plots were allotted to the shrine.
Okuyelu said, “The surveyor sold his plot to someone who couldn’t develop it on time. The buyer asked me to look after the land. Due to the development in the community, I leased the land to someone to construct temporary structures on it and keep it occupied.
“When the man was working on it, the Ajenifuja family confronted him and he called me. I called a meeting between the two families the following day and I explained everything about the land. They disagreed and we couldn’t settle the matter. The head of the Gbadamosi family was abused and embarrassed. I took him to his house, but they followed us. The last child of the old man called me eight minutes after I left, saying his elder brother had been beaten and killed by the defendant.”
During cross-examination, the witness told the court that the deceased’s mother and brother confirmed that he was hit by the defendant, who fled the scene.
He said, “Four days later, the Ajenifuja family went to a police station to report that some people fought them and destroyed their land and property. When I was called to the station, I told the police that the defendant, who was with them, killed the deceased and he was arrested.”
The witness told the court that the deceased’s father, who had now converted to Islam, was the Imam of the community.
Okuyelu said the Imam had appealed to the police to allow his son to be buried according to Islamic rites, adding that he was buried the following day without an autopsy.
Justice Adesanya adjourned the case till October 27, 31, and November 1, 2022, for continuation of trial.