By Demola Akinyemi
Justice Dusosinlohun Kawu of an Ilorin High Court, Wednesday convicted one local herb seller (alagbo), herbalist/ritualist, student and four others for trafficking, selling, buying and possessing human parts for money ritual.
The convicts were found guilty of such offences as criminal conspiracy, trafficking and possession of 11 human skulls, 11 lower jaw bones, bunch of hair and 29 pieces of bones taken from various burial grounds in Ilorin, the state capital.
Delivering the judgement Justice Durosinloun Kawu, described activities of the convicts as “despicable and shameful” and sentenced the first convict, Azeez Yakubu, to 15 years imprisonment with N100,000 fine each on three counts which he said would run concurrently.
Other convicts, who include a middle-aged woman, Aishat Yinusa, Lukman Saka, AbdulGaniyu Bamidele, Ahmed Yahaya, Saliu Ayinde and Abdurasak Babamale, were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with N100,000 fine each on two counts that would run concurrently.
Justice Kawu also said that the prison terms would include period already spent in prison custody, adding that they were free to appeal the judgement.
The judge had earlier in the judgement overruled that the convicts were tortured by SARS police in Abuja to extract information contained in their written statement, describing the defence as unreasonable and inconsistent, while also affirming that the evidences found on the convicts were not parts of animals like monkeys or gorrilas, but that of human beings.
It was learnt that head of pathology department of the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Dr. Kazeem Ibrahim, was invited to ascertain that the parts were human parts.
The offence was reportedly committed in March 2017 in Ilorin.
Before the judgement on Wednesday, the first witness in the case, Sgt. Mohammed Kamaldeen, of the department of homicide, CIID, had testified that on October 5, 2018, a case of criminal conspiracy and selling of human parts was transferred from Adewole Police Division to his office.
He added that the first accused person, Yakubu, was arrested with 11 human skulls, bones and human hair and brought to the station for investigation, adding that he recorded the exhibits as well as obtaining the statement of the accused.
Speakig further, he said the exhibits were sent to the University Teaching Hospital (UITH) for medical examination to determine if they are genuine human bodies.
According to him, the items were received at the hospital and after thorough examination; they were confirmed by Dr. Kazeem Ibrahim to be human parts.
Also, the second witness, Mathew Omotosho, had informed the court that he was part of the team that arrested the first convict.
“When we got to his residence, (Yakubu) he was not at home. So, his house was surrounded by police. Due to intelligent gathering, we learnt that he was at Anifowose; we moved there and he was arrested. We brought him to his house at Oke-Are.
“He confessed to the heinous crime and took us to where those skulls and other human parts were kept in the ceiling of his house. They were all brought out.
Also witnessing before the court is a member of Vigilance group, Fatai Adedoyin, who said he knows the first accused person very well and that he was part of those who retrieved the human parts on his roof.