COURT SENTENCES 3 TO DEATH FOR ROBBERY IN EKITI

Three individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging by an Ekiti State High Court in Ado Ekiti. The court also handed down a 10-year prison sentence to one person and acquitted another.

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The defendants, namely Babalola Bidemi (28), Akinwale Oluwaseun (26), Oyebanji Sola (aka Solademmy) (31), Jimoh Azeez (aka Asela) (31), and Ogunlade Babatunde (28), were brought before Justice Lekan Ogunmoye on January 30, 2020. They faced a five-count charge that included conspiracy, armed robbery, receiving stolen property, and membership of a secret cult.

According to the charges, on March 10, 2018, at Oke Oniyo Street in Ado Ekiti, the defendants conspired to commit armed robbery. Armed with weapons such as a big stick, club, stone, cutlasses, and a gun, they robbed Tijani Omowumi and Ogunrinde Olumide of various items, including phones, a plasma television, a wristwatch, a necklace, clothing, a shuttle bag, and a cash sum of N5,000. The offenses committed by the defendants contravened sections 6 (b) and 1(2) (a) of the Robbery and Firearms (Special Provisions) Act, Cap.RII, Vol. 14, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, as well as Section 4 (1) of the Secret Cults (Abolition and Prohibition) (First Amendment) Law, No. 6 of 2017.

During the trial, one of the victims provided a statement to the police, recounting the incident. She stated that she was asleep in her room around 1 am when she heard a loud noise at her door. Upon waking up, she found two men holding a stick and a cutlass in her room. They proceeded to assault her, demanding that she lie face down while they stole her belongings. The defendants had the intention of sexually assaulting her but were dissuaded by another member of the gang. The victim reported the incident to the police the following day.

To establish the case, the prosecutor, Dolapo Oyewole, presented five witnesses and submitted defendant statements, phones, wraps of Indian hemp, and a motorcycle with ignition as exhibits.

The defendants presented their defense through their respective lawyers and called two witnesses.

In his judgment, Justice Lekan Ogunmoye concluded that the primary issue to be determined was partially in favor of the prosecution. The judgment rendered the following decisions: Babalola Bidemi, although a first-time offender, encouraged the offense of armed robbery by knowingly receiving stolen items. As a deterrent, he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. Akinwale Oluwaseun was acquitted of all charges. However, Oyebanji Sola, Jimoh Azeez, and Ogunlade Babatunde, the third, fourth, and fifth defendants, were found guilty as charged and subsequently sentenced to death by hanging.

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