Federal High Court, Lagos
A Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday sentenced three kidnappers of the traditional ruler of Iba area of the state, Oba Goriola Oseni, to life imprisonment and death by hanging.
Those convicted by the presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo were Duba Furejo, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh.
The trio were convicted on a seven-count charge of conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and kidnapping.
The convicted persons alongside one Ododomo Isaiah (now late), abducted the 74-year-old monarch in his palace at Iba at about 8:00 p.m. on July 16, 2015.
They also shot dead two people – a palace guard, Sunday Okanlawon, and a commercial motorcyclist, Joseph Okeke.
The prosecution team led by the state Solicitor-General, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, said the convicted persons also attempted to murder the wife of the monarch, Abosede Oseni, and took away her cell phone.
Shitta-Bey said the offences contravened Sections 223, 230, 297, 299, 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 and punishable under the same.
According to the judge, the trio will serve a prison sentence of 153 years: 30 years each for conspiracy to commit murder, armed robbery and kidnapping, while they were slammed with 21 years each for kidnapping.
The convicted persons were also sentenced to life imprisonment for attempted murder and armed robbery.
Justice Taiwo said the defendants, who appeared to be the first time offenders, clearly understood the gravity of the offences and the consequences of their actions.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the defendants were involved in the crime. I also have no doubt that the defendants knew that their actions would cause injuries to the victims, especially by the use of weapons (guns), as proven by the prosecution.
“The prosecution has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt and I find the three defendants guilty as charged.
“A clear message needs to be sent to people who think they can get away with such actions. Families of victims are made to look for ransoms just to save their loved ones and this must be stopped.
“Such crimes don’t only affect the victims but also the society at large. Lagos is not a lawless society”.
“I hereby sentence the defendants to 10 years each on count 1 (conspiracy to commit murder); To death by hanging on count 2 for the murder of Sunday Okanlawon and Joseph Okeke (a security guard); To life imprisonment (attempted murder) for shooting the Olori, Abosede Oseni, in the abdomen on count 3.
” To 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit kidnapping on count 4; To life imprisonment for armed robbery on count 5; To 10 years each for conspiracy to commit armed robbery on count 6; and to 21 years imprisonment for kidnapping on count 7.
“This would send a clear warning to like-minded persons, like the defendants, that such acts are not acceptable in Lagos State.”
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