By Niyi Olutunde, Akure
Ondo state High Court, sitting in Akure on Thursday sentenced seven young men to death by hanging for killing an American based man, Banji Adafin.
The Seven convicted persons: Jimoh Sodiq a.k.a Akamo, Blessing Ogunlade, Yomi Balogun a.k.a Regal, Oluwaseun Oluwalola a.k.a Iyan, Akeem Adedayo, Oso John Omoniyi a.k.a Bosco and Sodiq Babatunde were found guilty of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit murder and for illegal possession of firearms.
In one of their operations, the seven convicted persons invaded the resident of Banji Adafin on 4th July, 2017, located at No. 5 Temidire street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue along Akure/Owo expressway who recently travelled back from the United States of America and killed him in cold blood in the presence of his wife and then carted away their properties.
While delivering the judgement, the Presiding Judge, Justice Samuel Bola held that the prosecuting counsel and officials of the Department of state services, DSS had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the seven young men robbed and used gun to kill the U.S deceased Banji Adafin at his home on 4th July last year when he came to Nigeria for a vacation.
Justice Bola said the offenders committed the offences in contrary to the robbery and Firearms Act, laws of the Federation (2004) and the Criminal Code, laws of Ondo state (2006).
The Court also sentenced to one-year imprisonment, the eighth offender, Damilola Samuel a.k.a Mama who was the girlfriend of one of the convicts for allegedly aiding and keeping incriminating materials.
Reacting, counsels to the convicted persons, Abdulrahman Yusuf and Samuel Aiyesa, said the Judgement would be challenged at the Court of Appeal after thorough reviewing.
Also speaking, the government’s lawyer, Grace Olowoporokun who represented the state Attorney General, Mr Adekola Olawoye commended the verdict as a justice for the murdered U.S. based man.
Damilola was said to have aided in removing the plasma television, laptops and other incriminating materials suspecting to be stolen goods from the residence of the Blessing Ogunlade.
According to the charge sheet, the armed robbers that invaded the No. 5 Temidire street, Muyiwa Oni Avenue along Akure\Owo expressway residence of One Banji Adafin who recently travelled back from an overseas trip had killed him in cold blood in the presence of his wife and then carted away their properties.
The wife of the deceased, Abimbola Adafin while recounting her experience before the court during the trial, narrated how the armed robbers invaded their residence in a shaky voice to the court in vivid details.
According to her, she was inside their bedroom along with their husband and daughter when she heard other occupant living together with their family; one Hannah Temitope (a relative) and Deborah Petti (a housemaid) suddenly scream at the top of their lungs which made her rush out of her bedroom to the living room.
She testified that when she got to the sitting room, she saw why the two women screamed; they were held at gunpoint by two armed robbers.
She said that when she saw the armed robbers, she panicked and ran back to her room and stated that unknown to her, the armed robbers had gained access inside the house through the kitchen and the house girl had explained later that she was washing plates inside the kitchen when she saw “a black, short gunman” dressed in a jean and a vintage shirt standing behind her.
She told the court that though the house girl screamed for help, she was threatened to keep quiet or else she would be shot and was ordered to lie down along with the Family’s relative while some among the armed robbers beat the women with an iron rod.
She testified further that the armed robbers took away the following
items from their home; 2 Samsung Plasma Television sets, her husband’s Samsung phone, one techno phone and electric pressing iron.
According to the prosecutor, DSS official, Olajiri Fadipe, while six of them were actively involved in the armed robbery, the seventh accused person had supplied the firearms while having no registered license to do such and the female among them, Damilola Samuel a.k.a Mama was alleged to have aided in removing the plasma television, laptops and other incriminating materials suspecting to be stolen goods from the residence of the 2nd defendant, Blessing Ogunlade.
In her statement, Damilola Samuel had confessed that she was in a relationship with the second defendant which had made her do his bidding when he asked her to remove some incriminating items from his home.
Justice Bola said the punishments would run concurrently.
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