Mr. Joachim Iroko, charged to court for naming his dog ‘Buhari,’ has challenged the jurisdiction of the Chief Magistrate’s Court, Ota, Ogun State, to hear the case filed against him by the police.
Iroko had through his lawyer, Ebun Adegboruwa, filed an application asking the magistrate to dismiss the criminal charge, as the conduct complained of did not disclose any criminal offence.
Adegboruwa also asked for an order of court quashing Charge No: 671C/2016 preferred against the applicant for want of jurisdiction.
Mr. Iroko was charged before the court on August 22, 2016, on a one-count charge which states as follows:
“That you Joachim Iroko (aka Joe) and another still at large, on August 13, 2016, about 1730hours at Ketere area, Sango, in the Ota Magisterial District, did conduct yourselves in a manner likely to cause breach of peace by writing a name, Buhari, on a dog and parading same in the Hausa section of Ketere market, Sango, and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun State of Nigeria, 2006.”
He was granted bail but as he could not afford the money to perfect his bail, he was remanded in prison custody while the case was adjourned to September 21, 2016.
Mr. Iroko, upon his release from prison custody, later briefed human rights lawyer and pro-democracy activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa and some other lawyers, who all offered to defend him, pro bono (free of charge).
At the hearing yesterday, before Chief Magistrate B. Ojikutu, Adegboruwa informed the court that the defence had filed two applications to challenge the jurisdiction of the court, but that the prosecutor in court had declined service of the said applications, preferring rather that the motions be served on his office at the State Criminal Investigation Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta.
Consequently, Mr. Adegboruwa urged the court to suspend the trial since the defendant is challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Mr. Adegboruwa also applied to the court to direct the prosecutor to furnish the defence with proof of evidence for the case.
After hearing arguments from Adegboruwa, the court agreed to hear the applications challenging the jurisdiction of the court, which was then fixed for November 21, 2016.
The court also directed the prosecutor to furnish the defence with the proof of evidence in the case, which was complied with immediately.
Iroko has consistently insisted on his right to give his dog any name suitable to him and that there is nothing to suggest that the name ‘Buhari’ was given to spite President Muhammadu Buhari or indeed cause breach of public peace.