Igoche Daniel Adah, a dismissed teacher in Abuja, has escaped from custody.
The man, who was charged with alleged s*xual molestation before an Abuja High Court is suspected to be among inmates who escaped from prison custody when some gunmen attacked the Kuje Correctional Centre last week.
Adah was ordered to be remanded in prison custody on June 23, when he was arraigned before Justice Akeem Fashola of the Federal Territory High Court sitting in Jabi.
The Commissioner of Police in the FCT had put the dismissed teacher on trial on charges of s*xual abuse-related offences.
Adah was slammed with one count charge to the effect that on April 15, 2021, he repeatedly touched the breast and other sensitive parts of a 14-year-old student of Destiny Academy, Lugbe in Abuja where he was teaching.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge punishable under section 32 of the Child Rights Act.
At Thursday’s proceedings, the accused person was not present in court, fuelling speculation that he might have escaped from Kuje prison where he has been on remand since June 23.
His defence counsel, led by Terka Aondo confirmed that Adah escaped from custody during the attack.
He, however, claimed that the accused had returned to custody, but failed to produce him in court due to logistics hiccups.
Earlier, Justice Fashola admitted the suspect to N500,000 bail after spending 21 days in remand at Kuje prison on the order of the court.
Justice Fashola admitted him to bail in the amount with two sureties in the like sum while delivering the ruling in his bail application.
Among other stringent conditions, Justice Fashola ordered that the accused person produce two sureties, both of whom must be Federal Government workers and residents in the FCT.
In addition, the Judge held that one of the two sureties must deposit his international travelling passport with the Registrar of the Court till the duration of the trial of the accused person in the criminal charge.
While delivering the ruling, Justice Fashola remarked that granting bail in a criminal matter is entirely at the discretion of the Court to enable a defendant prepare for his defence in the trial.
The Judge specifically held that the s*xual molestation charge against the dismissed teacher was a bailable one and not a capital offence.
In another ruling, Justice Fashola vacated the arrest warrant earlier issued against the defendant during the period he refused to appear in court to take his plea.
The Court held that having been arrested, arraigned and his plea taken on June 23, the issue of bench warrant has been overtaken by events.
Justice Fashola subsequently fixed October 27 2022 for the trial of the defendant in the one-count criminal charge filed against him by the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command.
Police Counsel Mr John Ijagbemi had opposed the bail application of the accused person on the ground that twice, he refused to appear in court to take his plea without any justification.
He had informed the court of how a bench warrant had to be issued against him and executed by Police operatives before he could be apprehended and brought to court.
While on administrative bail, the Police counsel had alleged that the defendant committed another offence of the same nature adding that the court must be wary of granting such a person bail.
The Police counsel had further stated that the administrative bail granted him by the Police Commissioner was abused as he refused to honour invitations extended to him by the police immediately after he was allowed home to prepare for his defence in the allegations against him.
Besides, the prosecutor had stated that the defendant’s surety had to withdraw from standing for him when it became apparent that the accused person was evasive.