Judiciary

3 sentenced to death for kidnapping traditional ruler, killing palace guard

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced to death, three men who kidnapped a Lagos monarch and killed his palace guard.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo sentenced Duba Fureso, Reuben Anthony and Yerin Fresh, who kidnapped the Oniba of Iba, Oba Oseni Goriola, murdered his 72-year-old palace guard, Mr Sunday Okanlawon, and attempted to murder the monarch’s wife, Bosede.

The convicts also murdered a motorcyclist, Mr Joseph Okeke.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Taiwo sentenced the convicts to death for murder, life sentence for attempted murder, and 21 years’ imprisonment for kidnap.

The judge also sentenced them to various prison terms for conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and armed robbery that occurred when they kidnapped the royal father on July 16, 2016.

Taiwo said that the stiff sentences should serve as a deterrent to crimes.

“The prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and established the ingredients of all the offences. I find the defendants guilty as charged.

“A clear message should be sent to kidnappers and murderers. Their victims and their families are usually very traumatised, and the families are usually asked to pay very high ransoms.

“For the offence of conspiracy to commit murder, the defendants are each sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment; the defendants are sentenced to death for the murder of Okanlawon and Okeke.

“For the offence of attempt to murder, the defendants are sentenced to life imprisonment – for the shooting Olori Bosede Goriola,’’ the judge held.

Taiwo also sentenced each of them to 10 years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to commit armed robbery.

“For the offence of armed robbery, the defendants are each sentenced to life imprisonment; for the offence of conspiracy to kidnap, each of the defendants is sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

“The defendants are each sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment for the offence of kidnapping. The sentences are to run concurrently,” she held.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bey, Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Justice and lead prosecutor, had submitted that the convicts and others still at large, committed the offences on July 16, 2016 at 6.00p.m. at the palace of the monarch in Iba, Lagos.

According to her, the convicts, while armed with guns, stormed the palace to abduct the monarch.

She said that during the abduction, the assailants, shot the queen, who tried to stop them, in the abdomen.

“The assailants fired several shots into the air; Okanlawon and Okeke were shot dead by the convicts.

“The Oba was taken via a boat to the kidnappers’ camp and a ransom demand of N500 million was made to his family; it was negotiated and N15.1million ransom was paid.

“The Oba spent three weeks with his abductors,” she said.

The kidnappers were, however, apprehended by members of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

During the trial, seven witnesses testified for the prosecution, including the monarch and his wife, his son, two medical doctors and two police officers.

The defendants – Fureso, a timber contractor; Fresh, a fisherman, and Reuben, a timber contractor, testified for defence, denying committing the offences.

Earlier before Taiwo passed the sentences, defence counsel, Mr G. O. Eguaroje, pleaded for leniency for the convicts.

“They are first-time offenders and are all family men. We shall plead to your lordship to be lenient with them and not sentence them to death.

“Finally, we shall try to exercise our right to appeal,” Eguaroje said.

However, Shitta-Bey asked the judge to impose the stiffest sentences to serve as a deterrent to such crimes.

“I urge the honourable court to impose the maximum sentences prescribed for the offences in law.

“The heinous crime of kidnapping does not only terrorise the victim, it terrorises the society; nobody is safe.

“A clear statement should be made that Lagos State has zero tolerance for kidnappers, murderers and robbers,” she said.

Edited by Ijeoma Popoola

Judiciary

2 men in court for allegedly damaging house foundation

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Two men, Olatunjoye Adelure, 52 and Inumidun Adeye, 59, on Friday appeared before an Okitipupa Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ondo State for allegedly damaging the foundation laid for a house.

The defendants — a tailor and a bricklayer — of unknown addresses, were standing trial in the court on a four-count charge bordering on misdemeanour, breach of peace, forceful entry and malicious damage.

The prosecutor, Insp. Ayodeji Omoyeigha, told the court that the defendants and one other still at large, on Oct. 26, around 10:30 a.m. at Lugboro Street, off Ode-Erinje Road in Okitipupa magisterial district, conspired to commit misdemeanour.

Omoyeigha said that the defendants conducted themselves in a manner likely to cause breach of the peace by forcibly entering into a plot of land belonging to one Olatunde Temoju and maliciously damaged the house foundation, which cost N500, 000.

He said that the defendants committed offences contrary to Sections 517, 81, 82 and 451, Criminal Code, Cap.37, Vol.1, Laws of Ondo State 2006.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Dickson Ogunfuyi, admitted the defendants to bail in the sum of N500, 000 each and a surety each in like sum.

He said that the sureties must present evidence of tax paid to the state government for one year.

Ogunfuyi adjourned the case until Dec. 30 for further hearing.

Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Oluwole Sogunle

(NAN)

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Judiciary

2 charged with attempting to buy hemp with fake naira notes

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Two men on Friday appeared before a Yaba Magistrates’ Court in Lagos State for allegedly possessing N26,500 fake naira notes and attempting to use same to buy hemp at the Tejuosho Market, Yaba.

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The defendants – Sunday Uche, 24, and Patrick Chidiebere, 25-  are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and possession of forged bank notes.

They, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The Prosecutor, Sgt. Godwin Oriabure, told the court that the defendants committed the offences on Dec. 3.

According to him, the defendants tried to use fake 16 pieces of  N1,000 note and 11 pieces of fake N500 note, a total of N26, 500 counterfeited notes – to buy hemp from Tejuosho Market.

He said that when the hemp seller realised that the notes were fake, he drew the attention of a police officer patrolling the area.

“My lord, the Indian hemp seller was also arrested for possessing an illegal substance,” Oriabure said.

The alleged offences contravene Sections 411 and 372 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 (Revised).

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 411 stipulates two years’ imprisonment for conspiracy, while possession of forged bank notes attracts seven years’ jail term in line with the provisions of Section 372.

The defendants were, however, granted bail in the sum of N100, 000 each with two sureties in like sum.

The Magistrate, Mrs E.N. Ojuromi ordered that the sureties must be gainfully employed and have evidence of three years’ tax payment to the Lagos State Government.

She adjourned the case until Jan. 14, 2020, for mention.

Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Ijeoma Popoola

(NAN)

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Judiciary

Court remands man, 26, for stealing goods worth N1,710

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An Ota Magistrates’ Court in Ogun, on Friday, remanded a 26-year-old man, Afeez Alabede, in Abeokuta Correctional Centre for stealing goods valued at N1,710.

Alabede, who is of no fixed address, was arraigned on a charge of stealing, to which he, however, pleaded guilty.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Busarat Sulimon, told the court that the defendant committed the offence on Dec. 12, at about 7.30 am., at No. 4, Salvation Street, Ota, Ogun.

She said that the defendant unlawfully entered the shop of the complainant, Oketunji Olajumoke, and stole three tins of crown milk, three tins of sardine, four sachets of Holandia milk, all valued at N1,580 and a cash of N130.

“The accused was caught by the neighbours and handed over to the police,” the prosecutor said.

According to her, the offence contravenes Section 390(9) of the Criminal Code, Law of Ogun, 2006.

The Magistrate, Mrs O. M. Awosanya, said that the defendant should be remanded in the Abeokuta Correctional Centre and adjourned the case till Jan. 8, for facts and sentencing.

Edited by: Tayo Ikujuni and

(NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Judiciary

Police arraign man for allegedly stealing provisions worth N170,000

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The police, on Friday in Abuja, arraigned Rapheal Charles, in a Dutse Grade 1 Area Court for allegedly stealing provisions worth N170, 000.

The defendant, a resident of Sunape village in Bwari, was charged with criminal trespass and theft.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Prosecutor, Mrs Idowu Ojo, told the court that the matter was reported by Fidelis Eze at the Bwari police station on Nov. 1.

She explained that on Oct. 30, the complainant, who owned a provision store in Sunape village, closed his shop at about 8.30 pm. and went home.

Ojo said that Eze forgot something and returned to the shop only to meet the defendant inside his shop.

She further explained that during police investigation, it was discovered that the defendant had the shop key, which had got missing from the store sometime in May.

Ojo further said that the defendant had allegedly used the key to steal provisions, including cartons of noodles worth N170,000 from the shop.

According to her, the offences contravene Sections 348 and 287 of the Penal Code.

The Presiding Officer, Mr Suleiman Mohammed, however, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N100,000, with a surety in like sum.

Mohammed said that the surety must reside within the court’s jurisdiction.

He, thereafter, adjourned the case till Dec. 16, for mention.

Edited by: Chinyere Bassey and

(NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Judiciary

Job applicant remanded for allegedly robbing with toy gun

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An Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court on Friday remanded a 27-year-old job applicant, Jacob Odili, in the Kirikiri Correctional Centre, for allegedly robbing a man of  N70,000 cell phone, with a toy gun.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs O.A. Aderibigbe, who gave the order, did not take the plea of the defendant.

She said that Odili should be remanded  pending advice from the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Aderibigbe ordered the police to duplicate  the case file and send to the DPP for advice.

Odili, who resides at Igando, Lagos, was charged with  robbery and stealing.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Mojirade Edeme, told the court that the defendant committed the offences on Nov. 17, at Igando.

She said the defendant used a toy gun to rob the complainant,  Mr Adefehinti Adeyanju, of a cell phone.

He said that the defendant accosted the complainant, pointed the gun at him, demanded for his cell phone and threatened to shoot him if he would refuse to comply.

“For fear of not being killed, the complainant quickly surrendered his phone.

“But unknown to the defendant, the complainant knew him where he was living before; so, he went there to report to the community leaders.

“The defendant was eventually arrested but had sold the phone,” Edeme said.

The alleged offences violate Sections 287 and 296 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Section 287 provides for three years’ jail term for stealing while Section 296 prescribes 21 years’ imprisonment  for robbery.

The case was adjourned until Jan. 17, for mention.

Edited by: Tayo Ikujuni/Ijeoma Popoola

(NAN)

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