Hamani Tijani, cross-border robbery kingpin, dies in Kiri-kiri prison

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Hamani Tijani, a suspected notorious cross-border robbery kingpin, died on Sunday after suffering partial stroke for nine months at the Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos State.

The spokesman for the Nigerian Prisons Service, Lagos Command, DSP Biyi Jeje, who confirmed this to the News Agency of Nigeria, said 42-year-old Tijani died around 9am in the clinic of the maximum prison.

He said the service had earlier invited the state officials to examine Tijani’s health in December for possible transfer to another hospital.

According to him, a team of medical experts were sent to the prison by the Lagos State Government before Christmas to examine him, but the outcome of their findings was not made available.

Tijani, a citizen of Niger Republic, was arrested in September 2003 in Cotonou, Benin Republic, and moved to Abeokuta, Ogun State, briefly before he was transferred to Kirikiri.

He spent 11 years in prison custody while his trial was still ongoing before his death.

Tijani was standing trial before Justice Sybil Nwaka of Lagos High Court on  three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery and receiving stolen goods.

The defendant had through his lawyer, J. H. Bashir, filed a “no case submission’’ and asked the court to discharge and acquit him for lack of diligent prosecution.

His request was, however, refused by Justice Nwaka in a ruling delivered on Oct. 23, 2012.

When the matter came up on January 14, 2013, the prosecution was not in court and the case was adjourned till March 12, 2013.

However, the trial was stalled again on the adjourned date as the court did not sit and the case was further adjourned till May 9.

Tijani’s corpse had been deposited at the mortuary in the Ikeja General Hospital pending further instruction from the appropriate authority.

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