Two students of the University of Abuja accused of conspiracy in the drowning of their friend, appeared before an FCT High Court in Nyanya, on Tuesday.
The duo – Christian Francis, 17, and David Ogwu, 16 – are being tried over a drowning incident involving one Emmanuel Balogun, which occurred at Dome Hotel, Abuja, on April 28.
According to the First Information Report, the deceased and the defendants attended a pool party at the Dome Hotel, Abuja on April 28.
In the course of the party, the deceased informed the defendants that he could not swim, but was encouraged by them and in the course of swimming, the deceased began to drown.
As soon as the defendants noticed that their friend (deceased) was drowning and finally drowned, they dressed up and left the scene for school, without raising an alarm or reporting the matter to security agents.
The defendants, who are residents of Lugbe, Abuja are standing trial over alleged conspiracy to commit felony, culpable homicide and failure to give information to public servants.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When the matter came up for hearing, the prosecution counsel, Dabo Yakubu, told the court that the incident happened on April 28, and presented one of his witnesses, Mr Akin Balogun. He had submitted names of four witnesses.
Mr Balogun, who happened to be an uncle to the deceased, narrated to the court how they discovered Emmanuel’s death.
“On April 30, my brother (father of the deceased), Bill Balogun, received a call from his wife (deceased’s mother), asking if the deceased was at home following a call from the school that their son had been absent for two days.
“On making inquiry, he was told that the deceased and the defendants had gone for a pool party at the Dome Hotel, Abuja on April 28.
“This prompted my brother to rush to the university while his wife rushed to the hotel. At the school, the defendants told my brother that the deceased had informed them that he was leaving the hotel immediately after the party.
“However, as soon as the deceased’s mother got to the hotel, she was referred to Central Area Police Station, but later asked to call her husband to come, which she did.
“Upon my brother’s arrival, he was told that his son (Emmanuel) is dead and his corpse was deposited at the Federal Staff Hospital mortuary,” Balogun testified.
Balogun also told the court that the family, after receiving the sad news, went further to make inquiry to ascertain what led to Emmanuel’s death.
“On May 1, we went to the police station, then proceeded to the hotel, and asked for the the CCTV footage, where we saw exactly what happened. We saw the deceased and the defendants, alongside other people, going into the pool.
“To our greatest shock, we noticed the defendants withdrew from the pool, and how the deceased struggled inside the pool until he died.
“However, when the hotel management was confronted, they denied identifying the deceased, saying that he did not have the wrist band that every other person inside the pool was wearing for identification.
“To our shock also, when we got home, we were told that some students of the school had paid a condolence visit with the defendants identified among them,” Balogun added.
The counsel to the defendants, Ameh Ameh, however requested for a date to enable him open his defence.
The Judge, Baba Idris, adjourned the case until Feb. 3, 11 and 24 for cross-examination.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the defendants were first arraigned on July 3, where they pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of N5 million each, and one surety in like sum.