- Another two to die by hanging for killing okada rider
BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
An Osun State High Court, sitting in Osogbo, has sentenced four men to death by hanging for armed robbery and murder.
The convicts are Hammed Rafiu, 37, Rasidi Waidi, 39, Kayode Sunday, 29, and Owolabi Bashiru, 54.
They were arraigned before the court on October 23, 2019 on six count-charges by the state government for kidnapping and burning to death one Victor Akinbile, said to be a cousin to the immediate past Deputy Governor of Osun State, Benedict Alabi.
The offences they were slammed with included murder, armed robbery, conspiracy to murder, stealing and kidnapping.
Prosecution counsel from the State Ministry of Justice, Dele Akintayo, had argued that the convicts committed the offences contrary to sections 6(b) and 324 and punishable under sections 1(1) and (2) (a) (b), of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act, Cap R11, Laws of Federation of Nigeria.
They were also said to have contravened sections 319, 390(9) and 364 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Volume 2, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them, but the court ordered their remand in correctional custody since the inception of the matter in 2019.
During hearing, the prosecutor had explained to the court that Victor Akinbile was gang murdered by the convicts after he travelled down to Ikirun, Osun State on November 26, 2018 to attend the swearing-in ceremony of former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Benedict Gboyega Alabi and former Governor Adegboyega Oyetola.
Akintayo said Akinbile who slept in his uncle’s house at Moboreje Area, Ikirun, had called his (Akinbile) wife upon arrival in the said house on November 26, 2018, to inform her of her safe arrival.
He said one of the convicts, Owolabi Bashiru, a security guard opposite the house informed Hammed Rafiu, Rashidi Waidi and Kayode Sunday that Akinbile had arrived from Lagos and lodged in a house directly opposite his duty post at Basorun House Moboreje Area, Ikirun.
According to him, the convicts, who were reportedly armed with offensive weapons such as guns and cutlasses, jumped the fence into the house owned by Alabi, and forcefully entered the room where Akinbile was sleeping through the burglary window.
He said they demanded the sum of N10 million from Victor who told them he didn’t have up to that amount, disclosing that he had N5 million in his bank account.
The victim was said to have transferred a sum of N3 million to Hammed Rafiu’s bank account in United Bank for Africa, who collected hundreds of thousands of Naira cash from the victim, having threatened to kill him.
After collecting N3 million and hundreds of thousands Naira cash from him, the convicts later kidnapped Akinbile and put him inside the boot of his Toyota Camry and drove him to Dominion Camp, area old Iragbiji Road along Ikirun/Osogbo road and set him and the car on fire, an incident the prosecutor said caused the death of Akinbile.
Akintayo further informed the court that investigation had revealed that Hammed Rafiu, Rashidi Waidi and Kayode Sunday had earlier robbed one Azeez Olusegun behind Oluwo’s House Eweta, Ikirun on October 8, 2018 where the trio stole a Toyota Camry (muzzle) with registration number JJJ 371 AA LAGOS, and also collected the sum of ₦620,000.
He said Hammed Rafiu and Rashidi Waidi were arrested at Ogijo in Ogun State, Kayode Sunday in Ondo State, while Owolabi Bashiru was nabbed in Ikirun.
Akintayo had earlier called four witnesses and tendered several exhibits before the court, where the convicts testified by themselves.
Counsel to Owolabi Bashiru, S.B Ajibade and Adedayo Adedeji, counsel to Hammed Rafiu, Rashidi Waidi and Kayode Sunday had earlier told the court that there was no evidence to show that the accused persons held a meeting before the robbery incident, and urged the court to discharge and acquit them.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Jide Falola, while delivering his judgement, agreed that the prosecution proved his case beyond reasonable doubt.
Falola convicted the four defendants on the six count-charges they faced.
He sentenced them to life improvement for count one; death sentence for count two; for the third count, they also got life imprisonment; they bagged death sentence for count four; five years imprisonment for count five and seven years imprisonment for count six.
Meanwhile, Justice Falola termed the case as technology-assisted and applauded the Nigeria Police for their efforts in tracking down the convicts’ locations and their bank accounts.
He further ruled that all the cash recovered from the convicts and cash in their bank accounts should be handed over to the wife of the deceased.
The judge recommended that none of the convicts should benefit from any state pardon, such as the prerogative of mercy and any other of such.
In another development, an Osun State High Court sitting in Osogbo, on Monday, sentenced two persons, Mutiu Azeez (a.k.a Tompolo) and Afolabi Mayowa, to death by hanging for armed robbery and other offences.
The convicts were arraigned before Justice Jide Falola on December 2, 2018 on four count-charges bordering on conspiracy to commit armed robbery, armed robbery, conspiracy to murder and murder.
The offenses contravened sections 6(b), (2) (a), (b), of the Robbery and Firearms (special provisions) Act, Cap R11, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,2004, sections 324, and 319 of the Criminal Code, Cap 34, Volume 2, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.
According to the prosecuting counsel from the State Ministry of Justice, Dele Akintayo, Mutiu Azeez, aged 41 and Afolabi Mayowa, aged 35 pretended to be passengers and boarded a motorcycle being ridden by one Olatokun Mayowa but ended up killing him inside a bush along the road.
On July 1, 2018 between 6.00am and 7.00am around Saaji village, according to Akintayo, the duo conspired together and hired Mayowa from Iragbiji and told him to take them to Egbeda on an agreed price of N300.00 only.
Witness called by the prosecution counsel revealed that Mayowa was riding the two defendants to Egbeda village via Iragbiji when the duo stopped him at Saaji village and dragged him to the bush, having armed themselves with cutlass and other dangerous weapons.
They were said to have forced the motorcyclist down from his motorcycle and collected the bike key from him. The convicts were said to have tied his neck with a tree before hitting his head with a stone.
The convicts were said to have confessed that they killed Mayowa because he knew one of them.
Afterwards, they were said to have robbed the victim of N1, 400 and his Bajaj motorcycle.
The convicts, according to the prosecution, rode the stolen motorcycle to Osogbo where Mutiu Azeez gave Afolabi the sum of ₦600 as his transport fare to Iragbiji while Mutiu Azeez took the motorcycle to Ibadan and sold it at the cost of ₦120,000.
Azeez was said to have been arrested later by some vigilante and police operatives and they made a confessional statement on how they killed the owner of the motorcycle.
Akintayo had called one witness to testify and support his case before he tendered several exhibits which the court admitted in evidence.
The presiding judge, Justice Jide Falola said that prosecution counsel has proven his case beyond reasonable doubt and convicted the defendants according to the charges leveled against them.
Counsel to the accused persons, Adedayo Adedeji, had urged the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his clients.
However, Falola sentenced the two convicts to death by hanging for armed robbery and murder and also sentenced them to seven years imprisonment for conspiracy.