Two to die by hanging over armed robbery in Ekiti

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An Ekiti State High Court sitting in Ado Ekiti has sentenced Owolabi Deji (30) and Opeyemi Oluwakomolafe (22) to death by hanging for conspiracy, armed robbery, rape, and escape from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison.

The convicts were arraigned before Justice Monisola Abodunde on 13th January 2017 for committing offences bordering on conspiracy, armed robbery, rape, and escape from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison on 1st December 2014.

The charge stated that “the defendants, on the 14th day of July 2015 at Oketa Area of Iluomoba Ekiti in Gbonyin LGA of Ekiti State, did conspire to commit armed robbery on Lucas Agboola and Oladele Oseyemi as well as Adeyemi Comfort on the same day at Araromi Street, Aisegba Ekiti, while armed with cutlass and gun.”

On the same date, time and place, the defendants also raped a 35-year-old woman, according to the charge, the defendants escaped from lawful custody at Ado Ekiti Prison on the 1st day of December 2014.

In his statement to the police, one of the victims said, “I was sleeping in my room around 3:00 a.m., suddenly, two armed men emerged in my bedroom, they cautioned me to cooperate if I don’t want to lose my life, they robbed me of a sum of N40,000, N2,000 belonging to my wife, they collected our phones and also raped my wife. I later got to know that they gained access to my room through the ceiling. We reported the matter at the police station and were later arrested,” he concluded.

To prove his case, the prosecutor, Barrister Ilesanmi Adelusi, called five witnesses and tendered a Dane gun, 10 handsets, one rechargeable torchlight, four handset batteries, N21,060 cash, recharge cards, a machete and statements of the defendants as exhibits.

The offences contravene sections 6(b) and 1(2)(a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap RII, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, also, Sections 357 punishable under Section 358 and Section 135 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

The defendants, after rejecting five different lawyers, spoke in their defence and called two witnesses.

In his judgment, Justice Monisola Abodunde said, ‘’in my view, the defendants are compulsive pathological liars who have become hardened criminals; rather than mend their ways in prison, they escaped prison during a jailbreak and continued to unleash terror in the community until nemesis caught with them.

“They are a threat to a peaceful existence in our society and they must be made to face the reality of the consequences of their wicked behaviour.

“In conclusion, I find the two defendants guilty as charged in counts 1,2,3,5 and 6 and convicted accordingly.

“In counts 1, 2 and 3 (Armed Robbery), they are sentenced to death by hanging, having been the principal offence and may the Lord have mercy on your souls.

“They are discharged and acquitted in count 4, in count 5 (Rape) they are each sentenced to life imprisonment and in count 6 (Escape from lawful custody), they are each sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

“Sentences are to run concurrently.”

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