Job Seeker Spends 3 Years in Ikoyi Prison Over Unproven Allegation of Defilement

A job seeker in Lagos, has regained his freedom after spending three years in prison for a mere allegation levelled against him by his girlfriend.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Headfort Foundation said Ezekiel, while searching for a job, passed the night in his girlfriend’s house on October 25, 2020, only to be arrested the following morning by the police.

“He noticed his girlfriend brought a police officer and arrested him unprovoked. She alleged that he defiled her 7-year-old daughter. He denied the allegations, but his girlfriend insisted, and after six weeks at the station, he was arraigned at Ebute-Metta Magistrate,” Headfort said.

According to the foundation, Ezekiel and his family couldn’t afford to engage the services of a lawyer, so he remained in custody unrepresented.

His case suffered several adjournments as the Director of Public Prosecutions’ advice was not issued until July 2021. His case was later transferred to Ikeja High Court.

“At Ikeja High Court, the matter remained in court with no evidence put forth against him by the prosecutor,” said Headfort.

“In November 2022, during one of Headfort’s prison visits to the Ikoyi Custodial Centre, Ezekiel met our team, who took his brief.”

The foundation said a lawyer of theirs studied Ezekiel’s file and discovered that the case was a mere allegation with no substance or evidence, and she kept representing him in court.

Headfort also said the matter suffered several adjournments at the instance of the prosecutor, who kept praying to the court for more adjournments to enable him call witnesses to prove his case.

“On March 22, Headfort’s lawyer applied to the court to strike out the charge against Ezekiel, and the court took cognizance of the fact that the case commenced in 2020 and the prosecution had no evidence to prove the alleged case against Ezekiel,” said Headfort.

“As a result, the court struck out the matter for want of diligent prosecution, and Ezekiel regained freedom after spending three years in custody for no just cause.”