IGP Mohammed Abubakar
By Akinwale Akintunde
An Ikeja High Court Thursday sentenced five policemen to 25 years imprisonment each for robbing a lorry loaded with textile materials.
Justice Joseph Olubunmi Oyewole convicted the policemen - Bestman Denner, Musa Mohammed, Peter Enidiok, Godwin Williams and Emmanuel Ajogbor, on charges of conspiracy and robbery.
According to the judge, the sentence would run concurrently, beginning from March 3, 2005 when they were first remanded in prison custody.
Justice Oyewole in his judgment, noted that the aggravating factor was the fact that the defendants were policemen.
“I have considered the allocutus. But the defendants are policemen trained to protect the public and not otherwise. This in itself is an aggravating factor.
“The defendants took advantage of their being members of the Nigeria Police Force to rob citizens.
“Using the police uniform to rob is a bad signal to the public because it will erode people’s confidence on the police.
“The image of the police should not be dented to the extent that members of the public will begin to see police checkpoints as an armed robbers’ locations,” he said.
According to the prosecutor, Mrs. Patience Alu, the incident took place on November 17, 2002 along the Ikorodu-Ijebu Ode Expressway, when the lorry was en route Benin City with the goods.
Alu said the convicts had mounted a road block for the lorry and ordered the occupants, Messrs Ogundare Sadiru and Peter Akpovile to alight and then forcefully took the vehicle’s keys and drove it away to an undisclosed location.
The occupants were said to have reported the incident at Igbo-gbo Police Station in Ikorodu.
Alu said the lorry was eventually found at Acme Road, Ikeja, Lagos without any of the textile materials but some of the goods were later found in one of the houses of the convicts during a search by the police.