By Dapo Akinrefon
The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, has described the life sentence passed on seven Fulani herdsmen, who were involved in the abduction of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Chief Olu Falae, as a welcome development.
Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin commended the court for the speedy trial and judgement passed on the abductors, noting that this is the first time Fulani herdsmen will be brought to book.
Odumakin said: “We have seen the judgement from the Ondo State High Court on the abduction of Chief Olu Falae and the sentence handed over to the culprits. We commend the courts for a speedy trial of the matter and for judgement passed on time because justice delayed is justice denied. We also note that this is the first time in recent history that Fulani herdsmen, who have been brutalising people, have been brought to book.”
The group’s spokesperson, however urged courts to ensure justice is dispensed speedily.
“We enjoin our courts to continue to do justice speedily so that people will know that once these people attack them, they can get justice. Not only can they get justice, they will not seek self help. The Fulani herdsmen themselves, once they know that they have a date with court and that it will be speedy, they will also be careful about what they do”, he said.
The herdsmen were sentenced to life imprisonment by an Ondo State High Court without an option of fine.
Delivering judgment in Akure on Monday, Justice Williams Olamide held that the suspects were guilty of the kidnapping charge brought against them by the Ondo state government.
The convicts included Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal, Abdulkadir Umar and Babawo Kato.
Justice Olamide said “the recovered ransom, call logs, and identification of the suspects by chief Falae indicted them of complicity in the crime” and subsequently sentenced them to Prison without an option of fine.
They were found guilty of kidnapping the elder statesman on his farm in Ilado Village, Akure North Local Government Area of the state in September, 2015.
The convicts were initially arraigned on a five-count charge of kidnapping, abducting, aiding and abetting, kidnapping, conspiracy and armed robbery.
The charge reads: “That you, Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed, Idris Lawal and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did give information for the purpose of kidnapping and abducting Chief Samuel Oluyemi Falae.
“Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal, and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did aid the kidnapping and abduction of Chief Samuel Oluyemi Falae.
“Abubakar Auta, Bello Jannu, Umaru Ibarahim, Masahudu Muhammed and Idris Lawal, and others now at large, on or about Monday, September 21, 2015 at Kajola/Eyinala Community in Akure Judicial Division did kidnapped Chief Olu Falae, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation and did not release him until N5,000,000 ransom was paid.