The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) driver, Andrew Nice accused of murdering 22-year-old fashion designer, Oluwabamise Ayanwola has been arraigned before Justice Sherifat Sonaike of the Lagos State high court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square.
He pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, murder and conspiracy to commit the offences.
Andrew Nice and others said to be at large were accused of conspiring to rape and murder Bamise Ayanwola “at about 1900 hours on February 26 between Lekki-Ajah and Carter bridge in Lagos.”
Andrew nice is also accused of raping another young lady (names withheld) who’s 29 years old last November, along the Lekki Ajah expressway.
The four offences are said to be contrary to and punishable under sections 411, 223, 260 and 165 of the Criminal laws of Lagos State, 2015.
Dr Jide Martins who is the director of public prosecutions represented Lagos state while Isaac Ezekwem represented the defendant.
Another counsel, Ayo Ademiluyi announced appearance for the Ayanwola family.
The charges were read out in English language and interpreted to the defendant in pidgin English, as he told the court he didn’t understand English very well.
After the defendant’s plea was taken, the judge asked his counsel and the DPP for more information to be included in the Case management form.
Dr Martins informed the court that there would be need for the charges against the defendant to be amended, and that the post-Mortem examination of the deceased was still pending, the result of which would be later added to the proof of evidence already before the court. He also affirmed that the State will require special facilities such as audio and video players for the trial.
On the part of the defendant, Justice Sonaike asked his counsel whether they would be considering the option of plea bargain. Mr Ezekwem said, “most likely”.
After the preliminary information had been provided, the case was adjourned to May 9, 10 and 11, 2022 for trial to begin fully, and the defendant was ordered to be further remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos.
Reacting to the hearing, the Ayanwola family’s counsel, Ayo Ademiluyi told journalists that it had rejected the conduct of the autopsy to be done by the police and the Lagos state government.
“In every sense, the Lagos State government is a party to this crime, and so it can’t have an appointee as a pathological judge, they can only observe. We are assembling a team of professors of pathology to observe for us….we are writing to the Canadian, American and British medical associations to provide international observers at the pathological anatomy of the Miss Ayanwola.”
Mr Ademiluyi also said it is the opinion of the pathologists that will confirm whether certain parts of Miss Ayanwola’s body were removed during her ordeal on the BRT bus, as alleged, before she thrown off.
On March 11, 2022, A Yaba Chief Magistrates’ Court remanded the defendant for 30 days, pending the DPP’s legal advice, which has now been issued, prompting the case to be heard at the high court, which is statutorily empowered to hear capital offences such as rape and murder.